Cisco extends deadline for Tandberg deal

Cisco Systems Inc. has given shareholders of Norwegian videoconferencing vendor Tandberg SA about two more days to accept its US$3.4 billion buyout offer.

The company extended the offer period, which was to have ended Monday, until 5:30 p.m. Central European Time on Thursday. Shortly after that time, Cisco will announce whether the required 90 percent of Tandberg shareholders have accepted the deal, the company said.

San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco initially announced Oct. 1 its intent to acquire Tandberg for about US$3 billion. It is a friendly takeover offer, meaning Tandberg’s board of directors and management have recommended the Tandberg shareholders accept the offer.


But after its initial offer, Cisco reportedly ran into opposition from shareholders representing about 30 percent of the company’s shares. Later, two investment companies wrote an open letter to Cisco detailing why they believed it had undervalued Tandberg and said holders of 24 percent of the company’s shares would vote against the deal.

After extending its deadline once from the initial date of Nov. 9, Cisco raised its offer to $3.4 billion on Nov. 16 and set a new expiration date of Dec. 1.

Tandberg is a major vendor of video equipment for enterprises, an area of intense focus for Cisco. If the acquisition goes through, it would significantly expand Cisco’s videoconferencing product lineup beyond its high-end TelePresence systems.