Over at Motley Foot, Anders Bylund is wondering whether Tandberg was worth all the trouble Cisco had to endure to get it.
But is Bylund asking the right question?
The strategy behind the Tandberg acquisition wasn’t the problem. Cisco had good reasons for wanting to acquire the company. Really, Cisco’s difficulties in this matter sprung from its own tactical negligence, not from any deficiency or flaws inherent to Tandberg as a an object of corporate affections.
It was all down to preparation and execution. Too little of the former led to weakness in the latter.
Probably one of the biggest IT-related stories of the year has been the final dissolution of Nortel Networks, formerly one of the world’s leading purveyors of telecommunications equipment. This blog, among others, has followed the bankruptcy-driven auctions of Nortel’s various business units.
Jim Duffy of Network World recounts Nortel’s ignominious end in 2009. In chronologically tracing Nortel’s inexorable disintegration from the start of the year to the present, Duffy puts some context and perspective around the business-unit auctions that have taken place in recent months.
What we saw this year, however, was just the denouement of Nortel’s decline and fall. The decline had begun long before this year, and those interested in the broader sweep of Nortel’s history would benefit from articles that reach further back in time.
Nortel’s tombstone might record 2009 or 2010 as its official date of death, but the malignancies that occasioned its demise had been present for years. Mismanagement predated and conditioned the company’s death, and I would contend that it took concerted and prolonged dereliction and incompetence from the company’s board of directors and senior executives to deliver it to its sad fate. External factors gave the company a push toward oblivion, yes, but the company was its own worst enemy.
The 19th-century German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer wasn’t exactly a cheery soul, but he offered a quote that seems particularly apt for Nortel: “Just remember, once you’re over the hill, you begin to pick up speed.”
Nortel raced down the hill, ultimately into a smoking heap, in 2009.
The offer deadline might have passed, but CIsco apparently persists in its efforts to buy shares of Tandberg, the videoconferencing-systems leader it has sought to acquire for about $3.4 billion.
In fact, Cisco now says in a press release that it has “received acceptances for or purchased shares representing more than 90% of the shares in Tandberg.”
Here’s more from the press release:
As a result of additional acceptances registered today, Cisco hereby announces that approximately 99.8 million shares have been tendered, representing 89.1% of the outstanding shares in TANDBERG. In addition, Cisco has on November 18 and 20, 2009, purchased a total of 2,238,600 shares in TANDBERG, corresponding to 2.0% of the outstanding and issued shares. The shares tendered, combined with shares owned, currently represent approximately 102 million shares, or approximately 91.1% of the shares and voting rights in TANDBERG.
Cisco now will move to acquire the remaining Tandberg shares and to eventually delist Tandberg from the Oslo Stock Exchange.