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Cisco ups bid for Tandberg

by Sylvie Barak on 17 November 2009, 11:45

Tags: Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO)

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From No way to Norway

In what appears to be a case of "no, no, we won't pay more - oh, alright, go on then!", computer networking giant, Cisco, has raised its offer to buy Norwegian firm Tandberg, the world's biggest supplier of enterprise videoconferencing equipment.

Cisco had initially protested that its bid of 153.5 kroner per share ($27.6) - valuing Tandberg at a cool $3 billion - was more than enough, but after being slapped down by over 90 per cent of Tandberg's shareholders, Cisco has apparently had to re-evaluate.

Cisco is now offering 170 kroner ($30.46) per share, which ups Tandberg's value to $3.4 billion.

The Norwegian firm's board had already approved Cisco's first offer, but without shareholder support, the deal couldn't pass, leaving Cisco at an impasse.

Cisco is now giving shareholders until December 1 to warm to its new bid, with the networking behemoth reckoning that, currently, at least 40 per cent are happy with the improved offer, including largest minority shareholders, Folketrygdfondet, Norway's domestic pension fund.

Also, this time around, Cisco says it really won't be bidding any higher, with the money on the table representing its absolutely last, final, not-a-kroner-more price. Although, bearing in mind that the firm implied that was the case last time around, one could forgive Tandberg shareholders for thinking they might be able to squeeze even more from the firm.

Indeed, Cisco seems to have rather shot itself in the foot by raising the stakes for Tandberg, setting an expensive precedent that may encourage shareholders in future Cisco interests to hold out and push for that little bit more - knowing that shopaholic Cisco simply "must" have them for its collection.

Cisco has been snapping up video firms for the past year, hoping to add to its "TelePresence" systems which make videoconferencing appear almost like real-life, face to face meetings in life size, over high-definition plasma screens.

One saving grace for Cisco, however, is that because Tandberg is an international company - Cisco's first acquisition of an overseas public company - the networking giant can avoid paying US taxes on money it would otherwise have to bring home.

As news of the increased offer hit, Tandberg shares shot up by 3.5 per cent, while Cisco shares added 1.2 per cent to their value.

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