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Cisco goes mobile with $2.9bn Starent buy

Network equipment maker Cisco today said it would...

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Network equipment maker Cisco today said it would pay $2.9bn to acquire Starent Networks, a supplier of IP-based networking equipment for mobile and converged carriers.

Starent's access-independent technology is used in CDMA2000, UMTS/HSPA and Wimax mobile networks.

Explaining the deal, Cisco said the mobile internet was at an "inflection point" as IP-enabled smartphones and other connected mobile devices gain market share. According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index, global mobile data traffic is expected to more than double every year until 2013.

Cisco will pay $35 per share in cash for all of Starent, valuing the acquisition at $2.9bn. Both company boards have approved the deal, which is expected to close during the first half of 2010, subject to regulatory approval.

Cisco CEO John Chambers said "We believe [Starent's] products and engineering talent will greatly benefit our service provider customers as they build out their mobile internet offerings."

Starent CEO Ashraf Dahod said Cisco's strength in video and IP plus Starent's mobile products created "a compelling portfolio" to provide rich, high-quality multimedia experiences to mobile subscribers on 3G and 4G networks.

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