Cisco to acquire WebEx

New York: Network equipment maker Cisco Systems plans to buy unified communications company, WebEx Communications Inc., for $2.9 billion. According to Cisco, including WebEx's existing cash, the deal is worth $3.2 billion.

Cisco said it would launch a cash tender offer for all outstanding WebEx shares at $57 each, a premium of 23 percent to the stock's NASDAQ close at $46.20 on Wednesday.

The deal has been approved by the board of directors of both companies and is expected to close during Cisco's fourth quarter ending late July. Cisco said it expects the deal not to affect its full-year 2008 earnings before special items.

WebEx has more than 2 million registered subscribers and helps them hold meetings and share information over the Web.