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Cisco is said to be near deal for software maker BroadSoft

[NEW YORK] Cisco Systems Inc is close to a deal to acquire software maker BroadSoft Inc, according to people with knowledge of the situation.

A deal could be announced as soon as Monday, the people said, asking not to be identified because the details aren't public. BroadSoft, which has a market value of about US$1.7 billion, has been working with Jefferies Group to seek suitors. It earlier attracted interest from buyout firms Searchlight Capital Partners and Siris Capital Group, people familiar with the matter said Oct 4.

The transaction hasn't been finalised and details may change, the people said. Cisco could be interested in BroadSoft to secure its position in the contact centre and collaboration markets, William Blair & Co analyst Dmitry Netis wrote in a note to clients in August.

A spokeswoman for BroadSoft declined to comment. A representative for Cisco didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

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BroadSoft, based in Gaithersburg, Maryland, provides cloud communication services to businesses in about 80 countries, according to its website. Founded in 1998 by former Alcatel USA vice president Michael Tessler and Celcore executive Scott Hoffpauir, the company went public in 2010. Mr Tessler serves as chief executive officer.

Cisco has had an acquisitive year as CEO Chuck Robbins adapts to a shift in the networking industry toward less-expensive software-based services and away from traditional hardware, which provides Cisco with most of its revenue. The San Jose, California-based company has announced eight acquisitions in 2017, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Cisco paid US$3.7 billion to acquire AppDynamics Inc in March, a deal that was announced hours before the fast-growing software maker was due to price its initial public offering two months earlier.

In May, Cisco agreed to buy software-based networking startup Viptela Inc for US$610 million.

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