Cisco Sweats Over Tandberg

9:50 AM -- In early October, Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) CEO John Chambers, talking to journalists in Geneva about the announced $3 billion offer to buy Norwegian conferencing technology company Tandberg ASA (OSE: TAA), noted: "The risk of acquiring outside your home country is huge. It increases the business risk... About 90 percent of acquisitions in this market fail, for one reason or another." (See ITU: Cisco's Chambers Hints at More M&A and Cisco Bets $3B on Tandberg .)

Those comments sprang to mind today following the news that the vast majority of Tandberg's shareholders have turned up their noses at Cisco, which currently holds the rights to acquire only 9.37 percent of Tandberg's shares. That's a very long way short of the 90 percent acceptance it needs for the deal to proceed. (See Cisco Acquisition in Jeopardy.)

Basically, the vast majority of Tandberg's shareholders want more money from Cisco, which has extended the time period of its initial offer to November 18, but not (yet) raised its offer of 153.50 Norwegian Kroner per share, which values the whole of Tandberg at NOK17.2 billion (US$3.07 billion, at current exchange rates).

That Tandberg stockholders would play the waiting game with Cisco had looked likely in mid-October and comes as no surprise, considering the history of Scandinavian shareholder strategies -- it seems the current game of bluff is par for the course in the northernmost regions of Europe. And the bargaining position of the stubborn shareholders was strengthened a few weeks back when Tandberg reported encouraging third-quarter financials. (See Tandberg Reports Q3.)

Still, the news that Cisco has received a positive response from shareholders representing less than 10 percent of Tandberg's stock is something of a shock: It looks as if Chambers and his team may have to increase the offer price or walk away from the deal. (See Not So Fast, Cisco.)

Tandberg's share price his inched up by just 0.26 percent today to NOK152.20.

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

Jack Sutton 12/5/2012 | 3:52:33 PM
re: Cisco Sweats Over Tandberg

Not that I would know the slang reference for a Norwegian, but ~~~

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