Polycom scoops up Accord Networks

Videoconferencing equipment vendor Polycom gave itself a US$339 million Christmas present with its acquisition of Accord Networks, which makes networking hardware for connecting disparate video systems.

Already one of the leaders in the videoconferencing endpoint business, the purchase of Accord will help Polycom expand its reach into the corporate network and enable it to offer hardware for connecting systems as well as the systems themselves. Polycom already has a division that manufactures DSL aggregators for service providers and sees Accord as a the next step.

"We started as a speaker phone company then moved to endpoint and integrated access devices, so the next step in our evolution would be into the core of the corporate networks," says Gary Alt, vice president and general manager of Polycom's Network Systems Division.

Accord Networks offers gateways for connecting H.323 (IP), H.320 (ISDN) and ATM-based systems as well as multipoint control units that connect multiple parties into a single conference.

Alt says Accord will still maintain its management autonomy with the only major change being Accord CEO Jules DeVigne will report to Polycom CEO Bob Hagerty. The combined company will have around 700 employees.

The stock swap deal is expected to close in the first quarter of next year. Polycom will swap 6.26 million shares of its stock for Accord's, as well as an additional 1.51 million shares for outstanding warrants and options.

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