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Cisco Buys ArrowPoint for $5.7 Billion

Cisco Systems Inc. resumed its torrid buying spree Friday by grabbing content switch provider ArrowPoint Communications Inc. in a stock deal worth about $5.7 billion.

Cisco will exchange 2.1218 shares of Cisco common stock for every outstanding share and option of ArrowPoint Communications. The acquisition is expected to be completed in Cisco's fiscal fourth quarter.

The purchase of ArrowPoint should fit nicely for Cisco (CSCO), which has been snatching up optical Net infrastructure firms in the past year in the hopes of gearing up its "New World" strategy of offering clients better content networking solutions. ArrowPoint is a leading provider of content switches that optimize the delivery of Web content.

Together with Cisco's infrastructure, ArrowPoint's products will enable ISPs, Web hosting companies and other customers to boost Web speed. ArrowPoint's software and hardware-based architecture support URL- (Uniform Resource Locator) and cookie-based switching. ArrowPoint's products also complement the Cisco Catalyst family of high multilayer switching products that are deployed in the enterprise and service provider environments.

The 337 employees will be led by ArrowPoint Chief Executive Officer Cheng Wu and will join the Public Carrier IP Group in Cisco's service provider line of business led by Senior Vice President Kevin Kennedy.

The latest acquisition continues the torrid pace for Cisco and its prime competitors, Lucent Technologies (LU) and Nortel Networks (NT).

The past year has seen the three companies purchase a number of product, networking and communications firms in an attempt to vault ahead of the competition. Cisco most recently purchased Isreal-based product supplier Pentacom for $118 million. Two weeks after that acquisition, Cisco catapulted itself in the telecommunications sector by inking a mulitbillion dollar equipment alliance with SBC Communications Nortel Networks (SBC).