Polycom buys Voyant to strengthen voice offerings

Conferencing provider Polycom has agreed to buy Voyant Technologies, which develops voice communications and networking products, saying that the acquisition will enable it to shore up its Polycom Office offering.

Polycom said Friday that it will acquire all outstanding shares and options of Voyant for a cash consideration of US$110.7 million. However, the net payment after the deal closes is expected to be $95.7 million, when Voyant's assets are added to Polycom's pot. Additionally, Polycom said that it may pay some Voyant stockholders $35 million in cash and stock over a two-year period if certain financial targets are met for the sale of Voyant products.

Voyant is a privately held firm that develops voice communications products and services. By snapping up the company, Polycom said that it plans to strengthen the voice offerings of Polycom Office, which offers enterprises integrated voice, video, data and Web communications. Furthermore, Polycom said that it plans to bank on Voyant's relationship with service providers to gain deeper partnerships with the companies.

Polycom has a history of strengthening itself through acquisitions, such as when it purchased rival PictureTel in 2001 and network equipment maker Accord Networks in 2000 to fill gaps in its voice, data and video collaboration products.

The company expects its acquisition of Voyant to close in the first quarter of 2004. Voyant President and Chief Executive Officer Bill Ernstrom will continue to head the Voyant group, which will be part of Polycom's Network Systems, the company said.

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