3Com to acquire Internet Radio company

3Com this week said it signed a definitive agreement to acquire Kerbango, which develops Internet radios, for $80 million.

With this acquisition, 3Com says it can now offer consumers a complete Internet audio solution for the home and office. Kerbango makes a standalone Internet radio, a radio tuning system and a radio Web site. 3Com intends to license this technology.

"The Kerbango Internet radio - and the services it offers - is the industry's best example of a simple, personal Internet appliance," 3Com CEO Eric Benhamou said in a prepared statement. "Consumers will enjoy easy access to a new realm of programming, and content companies will have a new channel of distribution and sales to a new world of customers."

Kerbango employs 28 people in Cupertino, California Kerbango CEO Jon Fitch will become vice president and general manager of the Internet Audio division, reporting to Julie Shimer, vice president and general manager, 3Com's Consumer Networks Business.

The transaction is scheduled to close during 3Com's first fiscal 2001 quarter. The acquisition follows an investment made previously by 3Com Ventures - a venture capital group within 3Com that funds emerging technology companies.

The Kerbango Internet Radio lets people listen to Internet radio without any connection to a personal computer. People can connect the radio using their existing ISP without paying an additional monthly fee, 3Com says.

Kerbango's Tuning Service is a directory for access to worldwide Internet audio. It enables listeners to respond to what they are listening to, 3Com says.

The Kerbango Web site helps users locate audio from more than 5,000 stations around the world.

Former Apple Computer and Power Computing executives founded Kerbango in 1998. The company introduced its Internet radio appliance earlier this year.

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