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WAN optimization specialist Blue Coat is to lay down a hefty $268m to purchase its rival, Packeteer.

The proposed deal comes after Packeteer rejected an unsolicited bid from hedge fund firm Elliott Associates LP in early March to purchase the company for $200.6m. Elliott owns about 9.8 per cent of Packeteer, and said it made the offer because it was unhappy with the management team's failure to generate a profit.

Blue Coat said the acquisition, which scored a definitive agreement with Packeteer's board, will add about 1,400 new channel partners, 50 sales teams, and 10,000 new customers. The company also intends to integrate Packeteer's PacketShaper traffic management and application visibility features into their own appliances, according Blue Coat CEO Brian NeSmith in a conference call today. The fate of Packeteer's current product line remains unclear at this point.

Blue Coat is eager for both the additional technology gains and market penetration Packeteer may provide. The company currently ranks number three behind Cisco and Riverbed in the WAN optimization game.

"Given the size of our respective global organizations and the complementary nature of our businesses, we will achieve substantial cost reductions and significant economies of scale almost immediately," said NeSmith in a statement.

The $268m purchase will be funded through Blue Coat's available cash and an $80m convertible notes financing. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2008. ®

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