Ciscos TANDBERG Bid Hits a Snag

Complicating a deal to unite the world’s largest vendor of enterprise network gear with the world’s largest videoconference equipment maker, a group of TANDBERG shareholders said it will not approve a $3 billion purchase by Cisco.

Cisco announced on Oct. 1 it would acquire the Norwegian vendor. The price announced, Cisco said, is an 11 percent premium over TANDBERG’s closing pricing on Sept. 30 and a 25 percent premium over TANDBERG shares’ three-month average. However, Cisco’s bid for Starent, announced this week, is a 20 percent premium, while Cisco’s 2007 deal for WebEx included a 27 percent premium.

The dissident shareholders, represented by Swedish brokerage SEB Enskilda, control 24 percent of TANDBERG’s shares and are seeking a higher price from Cisco. The approval of 90 percent of shareholders is required for the deal to close.

Both the TANDBERG and Starent acquisitions are among the largest purchases ever for Cisco.

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