SalesCrunch makes $1 bid for Cisco's WebEx

Tue Mar 13, 2012 2:09pm EDT

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(Reuters) - SalesCrunch, an Internet meeting platform, said it made an unsolicited bid to buy Cisco Systems Inc's (CSCO.O) WebEx online videoconferencing unit for $1 plus a 15 percent stake in itself, a move interpreted by Cisco as a publicity stunt.

SalesCrunch Chief Executive Officer Sean Black said on Tuesday that WebEx was not part of Cisco's core business and that an integration with his company would allow for better features and pricing.

"This is a cute publicity stunt from SalesCrunch, and we appreciate that they like our technology, but we have no intention of selling WebEx," a Cisco spokesman said.

Cisco bought WebEx in 2007 for $2.9 billion in its efforts to expand beyond its core business of routers and switches that direct Internet traffic.

WebEx is part of Cisco's package of communications products, in which video plays a major role.

But Black said analysts had forecast further asset sales as Cisco moves to focus on its core market and that WebEx was likely to be next.

Cisco decided to shut down its Flip video camera division last year rather than sell it as part of a major company reorganization. It had bought the video camera operation for $590 million in 2009 in an acquisition spree to build a stronger consumer business.

"Although WebEx doesn't fit into Cisco's core business, it doesn't have to suffer the same fate as Flip," Black said in a statement.

Early this year, Cisco also shut down its Umi home videoconferencing system, a service which it once touted as a quality alternative to popular video chat service Skype.

"As part of an acquisition, SalesCrunch proposes to migrate the entire WebEx user base to its next-generation platform over the course of 12 months," SalesCrunch said.

SalesCrunch, founded by Black in April 2010, is backed by venture capital firms Accel Partners, Nextview Ventures and AOL Ventures.

Shares of Cisco were up 1.1 percent at $20 in afternoon trading.

(Reporting by Nicola Leske in New York; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn, Phil Berlowitz)

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