Cisco Conferences WebEx Into An Acquisition

    March 15, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

$3.2 billion in a cash tender offer for WebEx shares will bring the online conferencing company into Cisco’s fold.

Networking company Cisco sees the WebEx purchase as an extension of its Unified Communications vision, and gives them another feature to offer customers in the small to medium business market.

News of the acquisition emerged shortly after markets opened on Wall Street. The $3.2 billion price will work out to around $57 per share for WebEx stock. WebEx closed at $46.20 the evening before the announcement and rose rapidly when the deal became public.

Just as Microsoft has increasingly focused attention on the SMB market, Cisco is engaging in the same behavior here. Cisco wants to find a growing market for its products, which dominate the networking field but may be slowing in sales among larger customers.

Several reports about the agreement mention the conferencing and document sharing possibilities WebEx offers. Another WebEx feature deserves mention and could be just as important to certain firms as the more highly publicized features.

WebEx allows the sharing of remote desktops across geographical differences. A system administrator on the East Coast could help a user on the West Coast with troubleshooting an issue.

The benefit of that should not be underestimated. With a widely dispersed staff of non-technical people like salespeople, those employees could be faced with having to send their hardware out for updating or repair, incurring express delivery charges to and from the user.

Such costs add up over time, and become magnified in the event of a lost or damaged machine. Being able to facilitate speedier service options and keeping staffers from suffering downtime should be a nice selling point for Cisco.