New teleconferencing products may help up the ante in the wake of a $3 billion acquisition bid by Cisco.

W. David Gardner, Contributor

October 20, 2009

2 Min Read

Tandberg is expanding its telepresence and video conferencing Profile Series family with three major models, announced Tuesday, even as the company's acquisition by Cisco remains cloudy.

The new Tandberg products, ranging from the entry-level Profile 42" to the dual video collaboration Profile 65", offer ammunition to a group of investors trying to bid up the $3 billion acquisition offer by arguing that the Norwegian company can generate strong returns as an independent company.

Cisco and Tandberg announced a "definitive" acquisition agreement earlier this month, but they may have underestimated the power of Norwegian stockholder regulations requiring a 90% stockholder approval of the deal.

A group of Tandberg shareholders representing more than 24% of the company's shares indicated they believe the videoconferencing company can command a higher price, either from Cisco or from some other suitor. Cisco maintains it is offering a fair price for Tandberg.

Tandberg has been a pacesetter in the rapidly growing telepresence and videoconferencing segments, and the additions to its Profile Series will bolster the line and fill in some gaps.

"Video collaboration is proving to be a key competitive advantage in all types, and at all levels, of organizations," said Tandberg CEO Fredrik Halvorsen in a statement. "The Profile Series is standards based. This enables users to have the highest level of group collaboration by connecting with customers and co-workers on any system -- from telepresence to the desktop."

The Profile 42" is powered by either the Tandberg Codec C60 or the Codec C20plus and is targeted at the SMB market and is expected to be deployed in small conference rooms and team huddle areas. The integrated system provides full HD resolution in point-to-point calls.

The mid-range Profile 52", powered by Tandberg Codec C60 is aimed at serving larger groups in team settings and meeting rooms; the model has an additional full screen display, which can be used for multimedia sharing.

The high-end Profile 65" Dual, powered by Tandberg's Codec C90, is expected to see use in board rooms, auditoriums, and specialized collaboration spaces.

Tandberg's directors have said they favor the Cisco acquisition, but with the holdout by the group of dissident Tandberg stockholders, the deal is not yet done.

In addition, the corporate video conferencing market is expecting major news Tuesday when Polycom, another major player in the market, reports its third quarter results. In another sign that the market segment is thriving, most analysts expect Polycom to report solid growth and earnings for the quarter.

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