Cisco To Buy Tandberg For $3 Billion

OSLO (AP) -- Cisco Systems Inc. on Thursday announced a $3 billion takeover bid for Tandberg ASA, a Norwegian company that makes hardware for video conferences.

Cisco, the world's largest maker of computer networking equipment, said it offered 153.50 kroner ($26.50) per share of Tandberg's stock, an 11 percent premium on Wednesday's closing share price.

Tandberg said in a statement that the proposal was recommended by a unanimous vote of its board of directors. The acquisition is expected to close in the first half of 2010. Tandberg CEO Fredrik Halvorsen would continue to lead the group.

Halvorsen hailed the move as "a vote of confidence, not just in Tandberg but in our technology and our people."

Cisco chief executive John Chambers said the acquisition "showcases Cisco's financial strength and ability to quickly capture key market transitions for growth."

The company's shares rose 11.5 percent to 154.30 kroner ($26.70) in early afternoon trading in Oslo.

Carnegie analyst Espen Torgersen called the bid "not outstanding," but "fair."

Nordea Markets analyst Andre Adolfsen agreed, but said there was a small chance of competing bids, including from Cisco's American competitor Hewlett-Packard Co.

"If you look at counterbidders -- probably HP I would say," Adolfsen said. "But I don't see it coming, to be honest."

Torgersen noted that Cisco's size and market position meant that any company wishing to make a competing bid would have to have a very good reason for doing so.

Tandberg employs 1,500 people globally, with joint headquarters in Oslo and New York.

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