* Deadline won't be extended past Thursday
* Cisco may waive 90 pct ownership requirement
* Tandberg shares up 1.9 pct, still below bid price
(Adds NEW YORK to dateline, Cisco shares, details)
By Ritsuko Ando and Wojciech Moskwa
NEW YORK/OSLO, Dec 2 Cisco Systems Inc (CSCO.O)
said its bid for Tandberg ASA TAA.OL has been accepted by 84
percent of shareholders in the Norwegian videoconferencing
company, and gave a one-day ultimatum to those who have not yet
tendered their shares.
Most analysts said the 19 billion Norwegian crown ($3.4
billion) deal is likely to go forward, creating an industry
leader in videoconferencing, although the acceptance level by
Tuesday was slightly lower than the 90 percent originally set
as a minimum requirement.
Cisco reiterated on Wednesday that it could waive that 90
percent requirement, although it still sees it as a key
threshold. It said it will announce whether it met that 90
percent level after the offer expires on Thursday at 1630 GMT.
"If not, Cisco will determine whether to withdraw the offer
or waive this (90 percent) condition," it said in a statement.
Shares in Tandberg rose 2.2 percent to 165 crowns, still a
bit below Cisco's 170 crowns-per-share offer. Cisco shares were
up 0.1 percent at $23.94.
Cisco ruled out any extensions to the deadline, which was
pushed back three times as Cisco struggled to win shareholder
Cisco raised its offer price 10 percent in November after
the original offer was rejected by more than 90 percent of
Tandberg shareholders, despite support from the
videoconferencing company's board and management.
The strong resistance initially triggered some concerns
that Cisco might walk away, but most analysts said the deal was
too crucial for it to drop.
Cisco Chief Executive John Chambers has said online
videoconferencing was a key growth area on the brink of more
High-quality, real-time videoconferencing can help
companies cut travel costs, and Cisco believes it can do more,
such as helping businesses like retailers, banks and hospitals
launch services from remote locations.
Tandberg is the leading videoconferencing equipment maker,
and the company's products fill a crucial gap between Cisco's
high-end TelePresence conferencing products and WebEx desktop
Tandberg holds 40 percent of the mid-tier market for
videoconferencing, according to Wainhouse Research.
Cisco has been been stepping up deal-making to broaden its
product portfolio to provide for all of its customers' IT
needs, including networking, security and videoconferencing. In
October it also announced plans to buy wireless gear maker
Starent Networks Corp (STAR.O) for $2.9 billion.
Acquisitions have helped the company grow its annual
revenue to around $40 billion from around $1 billion in 1995,
when Chambers became CEO. Originally focused on routers and
switches, it now sells software as well as more
consumer-related items like cable set-top boxes and mini video
Analysts have said Cisco's acquisition of Tandberg could
trigger more deals in the videoconferencing space.
No other company publicly showed interest in Tandberg, but
analysts have said companies like Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O),
Hewlett-Packard Co (HPQ.N), International Business Machines
Corp (IBM.N) and Avaya Inc [AVXX.UL] could seek to bolster
their technology portfolios with more videoconferencing
Polycom Inc (PLCM.O), the industry's No. 2 player, is seen
as a target, although its CEO told Reuters last month that it
was looking to step up partnerships with companies like HP and
IBM rather than pursue a buyout.
(Reporting by Wojciech Moskwa in Oslo, Ritsuko Ando in New
York; editing by David Cowell and Gerald E. McCormick)
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