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Rumors Swirl on a Polycom, Siemens Merger

March 29, 2010

A Los Angeles-based private equity firm is rumored to be resuming its push to merge Polycom with Siemens Enterprise Communications.

According to an article in the Financial Times, The Gores Group sent a letter last week to Robert Hagerty, Polycom’s chairman and chief executive asking to reopen talks about a merger with Siemens. Gores owns a 51-percent stake in Siemens.

Polycom declined to comment and officials at Siemens could not be immediately reached for comment.

Polycom is the largest maker of video-conferencing equipment and is the only large independent provider in the market after Cisco purchased Tandberg last year.

Interest in Polycom is driven by increased interest by corporations in unified communications systems, which includes voice calls, text and e-mail, video conferencing and instant messaging.

A merger would combine Polycom’s video conferencing expertise with Siemens Enterprise’s focus on communications equipment and convergence technology, said industry experts. That could help develop video technology for use in a desktop setting, or even on mobile devices.

Gores initially approached Polycom last October about a deal but was rebuffed. Polycom and Siemens Enterprise entered into a strategic alliance in January.

The latest interest by Gores follows talks between Polycom and Apax Partners falling apart.

Alice Straight is a unified communications editor. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Alice Straight

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