Cisco closes Tandberg video acquisition

The drawn-out US$3.3 billion buyout fleshes out Cisco's Telepresence lineup

Cisco Systems closed its acquisition of Tandberg on Monday, formally ending a tense struggle over the fair value of the Norwegian videoconferencing vendor.

Effective Monday, Tandberg's product line is now part of Cisco's Telepresence portfolio and former Tandberg CEO Fredrick Halvorsen is senior vice president of a new unit of Cisco, the Telepresence Technology Group. The new group is made up of businesses focusing on telepresence endpoints, back-end infrastructure and Cisco Telepresence cloud services. It is part of Cisco's Emerging Technologies Group, under the leadership of Cisco Senior Vice President Marthin De Beer.

Cisco has made video a major focus of its business in the past few years, with its Telepresence high-definition videoconferencing products at the front of the lineup. Tandberg, a longtime supplier of various video products for enterprises, fleshes out Cisco's midrange lineup.

The acquisition was one of Cisco's most difficult. The company offered US$3 billion for Tandberg last Oct. 1, but that offer did not receive the required support of owners of 90 percent of Tandberg shares. Two investment consulting companies said Cisco had undervalued Tandberg. The dominant networking vendor eventually raised its bid to 19 billion Norwegian kroner, or about $3.4 billion, and extended its offer three times. On Dec. 3, Cisco declared that owners of 91.1 percent of Tandberg's shares had agreed to the buyout.

Cisco said Monday it had made the acquisition for 19 billion kroner, equivalent to about $3.3 billion at the time the deal closed.

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