Cisco to buy up 20 to 25 companies, not all US

Cisco Systems plans to buy between 20 and 25 companies over the next year, and potential acquisition targets are located around the world, not just in the US, the company's head confirmed on Friday. The networking vendor is also likely to make further minority investments, he added.

"We're amazed at how quickly start-ups around the world are blossoming," said John Chambers, Cisco's president and chief executive officer. "We used to be able to count on two hands the companies we were watching, now it's a couple of hundred around the world." He was speaking in an interview with IDG News Service after his presentation to the California Chamber of Commerce board of directors here.

Chambers pointed to Cisco's recent non-US purchases as proof of the company's widening acquisitive scope.

Two of Cisco's 15 announced acquisitions to date this calendar year were of non-US companies. The networking company said it would buy UK Internet telephony company Calista in August of this year and the following month announced its intentions to purchase Danish high-speed Internet access specialist Cocom A/S.

Chambers wouldn't be drawn on the exact technologies Cisco is looking to buy in the coming year, saying only, "We have 20 major focal areas at Cisco, and in each area there's no lack of opportunity (for making acquisitions)."

He also revealed that to date Cisco has made 91 minority investments in companies, although the vendor doesn't make public the identities of its investment recipients.

Cisco's announced its most recent purchases last month. The company plans to buy US high-speed wireless LAN (local area networking) product vendor Aironet Wireless Communications for $US799 million, and V-Bits, a US maker of standards-based digital video processing systems for cable television service providers, for $128 million.

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