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Cisco snatches up two more firms

The networking giant agrees to buy JetCell, a wireless technology maker, and InfoGear Technology, a maker of software used to manage information appliances.

Cisco Systems spent another $500 million on two companies today in its latest bid to add to its far-reaching stable of networking technology.

The networking giant today said it has agreed to buy JetCell, a wireless technology maker, in a stock deal worth $200 million, and InfoGear Technology, a maker of software used to manage information appliances, in a stock deal worth $300 million.

JetCell's wireless technology will allow Cisco to offer its customers mobile voice and data services over corporate networks, the company said.

InfoGear's technology, which is integrated into appliances like phones, will allow Cisco customers to remotely manage and upgrade those appliances from a central location, deliver customized content to any other information appliance, and offer integrated services.

Cisco has been beefing up its offerings to support voice and video networking, competing head to head with rivals Lucent and Nortel Networks. Earlier this month, the company said it is buying Atlantech to help round out its network management offerings and aid its efforts to provide integrated data, voice and video networks.

Under the JetCell agreement, Cisco common stock with a value of approximately $200 million will be exchanged for all outstanding shares and options of JetCell. Cisco currently holds a minority stake of less than 10 percent in the company. Cisco expects a one-time charge against after-tax earnings of up to 3 cents per share for the deal, which will close in the fourth quarter of Cisco's fiscal year 2000, the company said.

Under the terms of the InfoGear deal, Cisco common stock with a value of approximately $301 million will be exchanged for all outstanding shares and options of InfoGear. Cisco currently holds a minority stake of 8 percent in InfoGear. The deal also is expected to close in the fourth quarter of Cisco's fiscal year 2000.

JetCell, which was founded in 1998, said its 46 employees will follow JetCell CEO Dave McClure and join Cisco's Enterprise Line of Business division.

InfoGear was founded in 1995. Its 74 employees, along with CEO Ed Cluss, will join Cisco's Small and Medium Line of Business unit.