Cisco pays unprecedented $7bn for hi-tech US firm

CISCO SYSTEMS, the global leader in supplying router equipment for managing Internet traffic, may have come close to breaking the bank in agreeing overnight on Tuesday to pay $6.9bn in stock for Cerent, a California-based telecoms networking start-up.

It is believed to be the highest price ever paid for a privatelyowned technology company. Cerent had sales of only pounds 6m over the last two years, although demand for its devices, which route telephone calls and Internet traffic on and off fibre-optic lines, will see that figure hit pounds 200m next year, with growth set to continue.

"This is unbelievable, and unprecedented," said Greg Rossmann, a managing director of the technology investment banking firm Broadview International. "It is truly reflective of the expectations for how the Internet infrastructure is going to be forced to evolve to support the demands of e-commerce."

Cerent is widely perceived to have a head start in an expanding sector. Its equipment acts as a link between long-distance communications lines and local telephone and data networks, helping to reduce congestion and allow phone companies to move more types of data faster.

Cisco began by making the routing devices that direct traffic on the Internet. Since then it has built a broad-based networking business via 40 acquisitions using its highly valued stock as a powerful takeover currency. Its market capitalisation of nearly pounds 140bn makes it the third biggest US company after Microsoft and General Electric.

Investors, who have put about pounds 50m into Cerent, will gain huge windfalls. For example, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm, invested pounds 5m for a near-31 per cent stake that is now worth pounds 1.3bn in Cisco shares.

Another prominent investor is Michael Dell, the PC retailing billionaire, who bought pounds 18m of Cerent convertible notes last month. However, the terms under which the notes can be converted into shares have not been disclosed.

Mr Dell's interest in the firm reflects his long-term focus on Internet e-commerce and telecoms network infrastructure companies. His own company, Dell Computer, pioneered the emerging e-commerce market by letting customers configure and order PCs via the web.

Indeed, shares of infrastructure companies such as Cisco, Nortel and Lucent have gained, even as actual Internet stocks have been hammered in recent weeks. The resilience is the result of data traffic volumes tripling every three months due to the explosion of computer traffic generated by the Internet.

This has led to a conviction among investors that telecoms carriers will be spending hundreds of billions of pounds in the next decade to rewire the globe.

Voices
voicesSiobhan Norton on why she eventually changed her mind
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
tv
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
News
i100
Extras
indybest
Sport
Scottish singer Susan Boyle will perform at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow
commonwealth games
News
Lane Del Rey performing on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2014
people... but none of them helped me get a record deal, insists Lana Del Rey
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

PMO Analyst - London - Banking - £350 - £400

£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: PMO Analyst - Banking - London - £350 -£400 per d...

Cost Reporting-MI Packs-Edinburgh-Bank-£350/day

£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Cost Reporting Manager - MI Packs -...

Insight Analyst – Permanent – Up to £40k – North London

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum plus 23 days holiday and pension scheme: Clearwater ...

Test Lead - London - Investment Banking

£475 - £525 per day: Orgtel: Test Lead, London, Investment Banking, Technical ...

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn