Cisco acquires Worldwide Data for $US25.5 million

Cisco Systems has signed a definitive agreement to acquire privately held Worldwide Data Systems, which provides consulting and engineering services for companies trying to build converged data and voice networks.

Under the terms of the deal, Cisco will exchange shares worth about $US25.5 million for all outstanding shares and options of Worldwide Data Systems, which is based in Howell, New Jersey, Cisco officials said in a statement yesterday.

The acquisition is part of an effort by Cisco to provide businesses and service providers with the tools and equipment they need to build Internet-based, converged networks that can carry voice, video and data traffic.

The deal has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies, and is expected to close in the second quarter of Cisco's fiscal year 2000, subject to various closing conditions. The acquisition will be accounted for as a purchase, Cisco said.

Founded in 1988, Worldwide Data Systems offers consulting, engineering, network design modeling, interoperability/integration testing, training and associated support services. Its services would be useful to a company looking to, for example, deploy voice-over-IP applications in network built using equipment from multiple vendors, or in a network that combines circuit-switched and packet-switched technologies, Cisco said.

Worldwide Data Systems will become part of Cisco's Professional Services Business Unit within its Customer Advocacy Group.

Cisco's shares were at $98.19 in early afternoon trading, up $2.31 from yesterday's close, or about 2.5 percent.

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