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Belkin Acquiring Cisco's Linksys Unit By March

While we were recently told by a Linksys rep that news of Cisco selling off the unit was mere rumor, networking giant Belkin is now saying otherwise.

According to an announcement made on Thursday, Belkin has entered into an agreement to acquire Cisco's Home Networking Business Unit – which includes the Irvine, Calif.-based Linksys – for an undisclosed sum. Once the transition closes, Belkin will account for around 30-percent of the U.S. retail home and small business networking market.

"We’re very excited about this announcement," said Chet Pipkin, CEO of Belkin. "Our two organizations share many core beliefs – we have similar beginnings and share a passion for meeting the real needs of our customers through the strengths of an entrepreneurial culture. Belkin’s ultimate goal is to be the global leader in the connected home and wireless networking space and this acquisition is an important step to realizing that vision."

Belkin said that it plans to maintain the Linksys brand and will offer support for Linksys products as part of this transaction. All valid warranties will be honored by Belkin for current and future Linksys products, the company said.

"Belkin and Cisco intend to develop a strategic relationship on a variety of initiatives including retail distribution, strategic marketing and products for the service provider market," the company said. Having access to Cisco’s specialized software solutions across all of Belkin’s product lines will bring a more seamless user experience for customers. Merging the innovation capabilities of Linksys and Belkin provides a powerful platform from which to develop the next generation of home networking technology."

Reports of Cisco looking to sell Linksys emerged back in December 2012. Unnamed sources said that Cisco was looking to expand its corporate software and technology services. Its trek into the consumer technology frontier backfired, sources said, caused by a slowdown in sales growth. Thus, Cisco eliminated 7,800 jobs and began closing consumer-based businesses such as the Flip video camera unit.

Even in December, sources said that Belkin was hovering, looking to grab the Linksys networking unit from Cisco. But Leah Polk, Senior Global Public Relations Manager of Belkin International, said that it was merely a rumor and there was no official statement to make. Looks like it's official now.

"At Belkin, we’re committed to enabling great experiences for users of today’s mobile and connected home technologies," Pipkin added. "The acquisition of Linksys and the combination of Belkin’s and Linksys’ expertise and innovation will position us to meet the demands of today’s rapidly evolving advances in technology."

The transaction is subject to various standard closing conditions and is expected to close in March 2013.

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