Cisco buys Britsh tech firm for $700m


Cisco has acquired a fledgeling British company that specialises in video conferencing for $700 million (£460 million).

Acano, based in Uxbridge, west London, and founded four years ago, develops software that allows people to make video calls between systems such as Skype and Microsoft Lync. It was set up by a team that left Cisco after the American routing company acquired Tandberg, a video-conferencing company originally based in Norway, for $3 billion in 2009.

That will mean a second big payday from Cisco for the Norwegian and British founders of the business, who set up the new company. The American company is paying in cash and future share bonuses to acquire Acano. The British company is run by OJ — or Odd Johnny — Winge, who was previously head of products at Tandberg before leaving Cisco in 2012 to found Acano.

Cisco, which was briefly the world’s biggest company during the tech boom, pledged this year to spend $1 billion in Britain by 2020. Acano is the latest in a series of deals for British companies. Cisco paid $310 million for Ubiquisys, which makes “small cell” networks, in 2013. It also bought ScanSafe, a security software developer, in 2009, and NDS, a pay-TV encryption business, for £3.2 billion, last year. Cisco employees 7,000 people in the UK.

It is the second takeover of a British company since Chuck Robbins took over as Cisco chief executive this year, having bought Portcullis Computer Security, a Watford-based cybersecurity provider, last month. Mr Robbins replaced John Chambers, who was the chief executive of Cisco for 20 years, and reaffirmed the American company’s commitment to investing in British technology

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