3Com Corporation has purchased Alteon Websystems Inc.’s Gigabit Ethernet NIC (network interface card) business for US$110 million in cash, 3Com announced Wednesday.

Alteon Websystems is a subsidiary of Nortel Networks Corp. Its NICs were developed for use with the existing copper network wiring system present in most businesses, making fibre optic cables unnecessary, said 3Com spokesman Brian Johnson.

The Gigabit Ethernet adapter business is growing 300 per cent a year, according to market research from Cahners-Instat Group that was cited by 3Com in a press release, driven by growing enterprise resource planning, e-commerce, and streaming media (such as video) applications.

The deal, scheduled to close in December, is structured as an asset sale and still requires regulatory approval. Besides purchasing the NIC business from Alteon – which was acquired by Nortel last month – 3Com will license some Gigabit Ethernet technology and intellectual property from Alteon.

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