Cisco Systems to acquire Starent Networks

Cisco Systems Inc., the largest maker of telecommunications networking equipment, has agreed to buy Starent Networks Corp. in an all-cash deal valued at $2.9 billion.

Cisco will pay $35 a share in cash and assume outstanding equity awards. The deal is Cisco’s second multibillion-dollar acquisition in less than two weeks, according to Bloomberg News.

On Oct. 1, Cisco agreed to buy Norway’s Tandberg ASA for about $3 billion to expand its lineup of videoconferencing products.

Starent, of Tewksbury, Mass., enables wireless carriers to understand the traffic crossing their networks and to quickly route that information to mobile devices.

Cisco officials said they expect global data traffic will more than double every year through 2013. The provider of telecom routers and switches plans to add technologies that boost Internet traffic, increasing demand for its products, Bloomberg said.

The acquisition is expected to help Cisco benefit from the increasing demand for devices such as iPhones and BlackBerrys.