Cisco Extends Tandberg Deadline

Company extended acceptance period for its $3.4 billion bid for Tandberg, after failing to secure enough support for the offer within the original timeframe.

OSLO (AP) -- Cisco Systems Inc. on Tuesday extended the acceptance period for its $3.4 billion bid for Norway's Tandberg ASA by two days, after failing to secure enough support for the offer within the original timeframe.

Cisco increased its bid for Tandberg -- the world's largest provider of videoconferencing equipment for business users -- on Nov. 16 to 170 kroner ($30.23) per share from its initial offer of 153.5 kroner and set the offer period to end Tuesday. That bid will now expire on Thursday.

Cisco said it will announce whether it has obtained the 90 percent of Tandberg stock required to close the deal "soon after" the extended offer period ends.

When tendering the new bid, Cisco said 40 percent of Tandberg's shareholders backed the new offer, including the largest minority shareholders -- Folketrygdfondet, Norway's domestic pension fund, and OppenheimerFunds. However, it has yet to announce it has secured 50 percent of the stock, an announcement it has to make under Norwegian law.

The original bid of about $3 billion was approved by the Norwegian company's board but attracted less than 10 percent of Tandberg shareholders.

Tandberg shares held steady Tuesday, closing at 161.5 kroner ($28.72) in Oslo before the extension was announced.

Cisco shares rose 2.2 percent to $23.92 in early afternoon trading.

Cisco, the world's largest maker of computer networking equipment, has been focusing on the high end of the videoconferencing market, selling so-called "TelePresence" systems with multiple plasma screens that present life-size images of the participants to provide the illusion of face-to-face communication.

With Tandberg, Cisco would get the leading maker of video systems ranging from small "videophones" to full conference-room setups.

The deal would also let the company spend some of the cash that has been piling up in its overseas subsidiaries. By buying an international company, Cisco would avoid the U.S. taxes it would have to pay to bring the money home.

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