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Cisco says Tandberg borging underway

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When the Cisco mothership is at your door, you have one of two choices: be assimilated quickly or slowly.

After looming over the Norwegian video conferencing equipment maker Tandberg for the past two months, Cisco Systems said Friday it now has scooped up enough shares and shareholder commitments to take the company over.

Cisco said yesterday that stockholders representing 89 per cent of Tandberg shares had accepted its $3.41bn bid for the company — just shy of the 90 per cent required to squeeze out shareholder holdouts under Norwegian law. But today, Cisco announced that additional shares tendered on November 18 and 20 amount to an extra 2 per cent, for a total of 91.1 per cent of all shares.

The networking collective had originally made a $3bn offer to purchase Tandberg on October 1, but a group of shareholders representing 24 per cent of shares held out for more money. Cisco then sweetened the deal to $3.41bn on November 16. It then extended the takeover deadline and let Tandberg investors sweat it out.

Cisco views the acquisition of Tandberg as paramount to their videoconferencing roadmap by adding a lineup of low-cost products to complement their high priced kit aimed at large businesses.

One more possible hurdle in the Tandberg purchase is an review by US regulators for possible antitrust concerns. Cisco said on Thursday it received a "second request" for information about the deal by the US Justice Department. The company said it will "continue to work cooperative" with the DoJ in its review. ®

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