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Justice Dept. OKs Cisco Acquisition of Tandberg

 Cisco has made commitments to facilitate interoperability between its telepresence products and those of other companies.

Consolidation of the videoconferencing marketplace took a step forward Monday (March 29) as the the Department of Justice gave a green light to Cisco Systems Inc.’s acquisition of Tandberg ASA.

“The department has concluded that the proposed deal is not likely to be anticompetitive due to the evolving nature of the videoconferencing market and the commitments that Cisco has made to the European Commission (EC) to facilitate interoperability,” DoJ said in a statement.

During the course of its investigation the Department of Justice cooperated closely with the EC in its parallel review of the transaction, aided by waivers from the parties and industry participants, Justice said. This permitted the agencies to share information and assessments of likely competitive effects and potential remedies.

“This investigation was a model of international cooperation between the United States and the European Commission,” said Christine Varney, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division. “The parties should be commended for making every effort to facilitate the close working relationship between the Department of Justice and the European Commission.”

The Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division analyzed the effect of combining the videoconferencing businesses of Cisco and Tandberg, focusing on high-quality “telepresence,” in which Cisco and Tandberg are competitors.

Justice said it conducted an extensive investigation of the marketplace, including numerous interviews of industry participants and customers, and review of documents provided by the parties and other firms in the videoconferencing business.

The EC also announced today that it has cleared the transaction.

Cisco has made commitments to facilitate interoperability between its telepresence products and those of other companies as part of the EC’s merger clearance process–specifically to foster the development of open operating standards.

Cisco is based in San Jose and is the largest provider of telepresence equipment worldwide, as well as the leading supplier of tools that make up the global Internet backbone. Tandberg has dual headquarters in Oslo, Norway, and New York and is the largest provider of videoconferencing equipment overall worldwide.

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