Cisco forks out $270M for Accompany in collaboration push

Cisco forks out $270M for Accompany in collaboration push

Cisco said it will acquire Accompany for US$270 million in cash and assumed equity awards

Chuck Robbins - Cisco CEO

Chuck Robbins - Cisco CEO

Cisco has inked a deal to acquire enterprise relationship intelligence platform provider Accompany in a bid to boost its collaboration prowess by tapping into the Californian tech start-up’s artificial intelligence (AI)-powered platform.

Cisco said it will acquire Accompany for US$270 million in cash and assumed equity awards.

Based in Los Altos, Accompany has made a name for itself providing an AI-driven relationship intelligence platform for finding new prospects, navigating the selling process and strengthening relationships.

It is hoped that Accompany’s AI technology and existing internal talent will help Cisco accelerate priority areas across its collaboration portfolio, such as providing user and company profile data in Webex meetings.

The deal sees Accompany founder and CEO Amy Chang join Cisco as senior vice president in charge of the company’s Collaboration Technology Group. Chang has served as a member of Cisco’s board of directors since October 2016. The move sees her resign from the board.

At the same time, the Accompany team will join the Cisco Collaboration Technology Group under Chang’s leadership.

“Amy has proven to be an effective and innovative leader through her years as an entrepreneur, an engineer, and CEO, and I couldn’t be more pleased to have her and the Accompany team join Cisco,” Cisco chairman and CEO Chuck Robbins said.

“Together, we have a tremendous opportunity to further enhance AI and machine learning capabilities in our collaboration portfolio and continue to create amazing collaboration experiences for customers,” he said.

Cisco’s current Collaboration Technology Group senior vice president and general manager Rowan Trollope, meanwhile, is leaving Cisco to become CEO at another company, effective 3 May.

The acquisition is expected to close in Cisco’s fourth quarter of fiscal year 2018 after meeting with the customary conditions needed for such a transaction.

Cisco offloads Service Provider Video Software Solutions business

The deal comes as global private equity firm Permira revealed that one of the companies in which it claims a stake has signed an agreement to acquire Cisco’s Service Provider Video Software Solutions (SPVSS) business, which will become a standalone company in the process. 

“Cisco’s strategy is focusing on our five key areas of networking, multi-cloud, security, data, and collaboration,” Cisco Service Providers senior vice president and general manager Yvette Kanouff said.

“Given this strategic direction, it is the right time for the SP video group to be a stand-alone company. I believe it will be very successful, and it will be focused solely on growth in this marketplace,” she said.

Following the close of the deal, the Permira Funds will create a new, rebranded company focused on developing and delivering video solutions for the pay television industry.

The new company will encompass a broad portfolio, including Cisco’s Infinite Video Platform, cloud digital video recording, video processing, video security, video middleware, and services groups.

Abe Peled, former chairman and CEO of NDS Group, which became Cisco Videoscape when it was acquired by the networking vendor in 2012, and adviser to the Permira Funds, will become chairman of the new company.

“We are proud of our innovation in video and the customer momentum that the Service Provider Video group has built,” Robbins said. “With the leadership team and Abe as Chairman, the new company is well-positioned to drive this work forward and continue to deliver the solutions that meet the current and future needs of service provider video customers.

“Service providers remain a key customer segment for Cisco, and we look forward to continuing to partner with them to deliver new revenue-generating services and experiences,” he said.

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