Cisco Systems to Acquire Online-Meeting Company

Cisco Systems to Acquire Online-Meeting Company 1Cisco Systems said Thursday that it agreed to acquire the online-meeting firm WebEx Communications for about $3.2 billion in cash, a takeover that furthers Cisco’s push beyond its core market and into business communications.

Cisco, the leading maker of routers and switches that direct data over computer networks, said it would pay $57 per share for Web-Ex. That represents a 23 percent premium over WebEx’s closing price of $46.20 Wednesday on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

The acquisition follows several other major recent takeovers by the company.

Cisco is in prime position to shop around, as strong demand for its services has left it sitting on a mountain of cash. Cisco, which has the highest market capitalization in Silicon Valley, finished its second quarter with nearly $21 billion in cash.

Cisco Systems to Acquire Online-Meeting Company 2

WebEx of Santa Clara makes applications that enable online conferences and secure instant messaging.

The company says it has 64 percent of the online-meeting market, with more than 3.5 million people using WebEx services each month.

Some analysts expressed concern in a conference call about the price of the deal, considering Web-Ex had revenue of $380 million last year and profit of nearly $49 million.

Some analysts also suggested that Cisco could have bought Web-Ex cheaper had it acted sooner.

The acquisition was approved by both boards and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year, Cisco said.

WebEx shares closed at $56.38, up $10.18, on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

Cisco shares closed at $25.81, down 4 cents.

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