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Cisco's Norwegian buy looking dodgy

Few takers for $3bn offer

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Cisco's takeover plans for Norwegian video conferencing firm Tandberg are looking increasingly shaky - less than ten per cent of shareholders have so far voted in favour of the deal.

Cisco has already extended the deadline for acceptance until 18 November in face of shareholders' lack of enthusiasm. If 90 per cent of shareholders have not voted in favour of the takeover by the close of business on the 18th, then Cisco will have to decide whether or not to withdraw the offer.

The networking giant, quickly gaining a foothold in consumer electronics, told the Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday that only 9.37 per cent of Tandberg shareholders had agreed to the deal.

The $3bn offer was 25 per cent more than the shares had been trading at over the three months prior to the bid.

But Tandberg shareholders have suggested the firm would do better as an independent business, unless Cisco can increase the offer.

Ned Hooper, Cisco's VP of corporate development signalled clearly last month that he believes the firm could, and should, walk away from the deal rather than get tied up in a bidding war.

Video conferencing and collaboration are two of the many new areas of focus for Cisco - it paid another $3bn for WebEx two years ago.

The company is determined to extend its hold on the networking market into other areas, including conferencing and consumer electronics. ®

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