Cisco to sell Linksys home networking business to Belkin

Belkin will keep the Linksys brand and partner with Cisco for software and service-provider products

Cisco Systems plans to sell its Linksys home networking business to Belkin International for an undisclosed sum under an agreement that includes cooperation between the companies on software, service-provider products and other areas.

Belkin will keep the Linksys brand alive and honor warranties for customers who bought Linksys products, it said in a press release Thursday.

Cisco acquired Linksys in 2003 and has used it to deliver several generations of Wi-Fi routers and other consumer networking equipment into homes. But Cisco is now pulling back from its consumer business as it focuses on becoming one of the top enterprise IT vendors.

Belkin makes consumer and small-business networking gear as well as accessories and peripherals and is based in Playa Vista, in Southern California. That's not far from Irvine, where Linksys is based. Belkin plans to bring in the Linksys workforce as part of the deal, which is expected to close in March.

The combined company is set to be a powerful force in home networking. After the acquisition closes, Belkin will have about 30 percent of the U.S. market for home and small business networking, it said.

"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," CEO Chet Pipkin said in a statement.

Linksys gear will not be totally cut off from its Cisco origins. The companies plan to build a relationship in retail distribution, marketing, and products for service providers.

"Having access to Cisco's specialized software solutions across all of Belkin's product lines will bring a more seamless user experience for customers," Belkin said.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

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Tags business issuesCisco Systemsconsumer electronicsNetworkingwirelessbelkinWLANs / Wi-FiMergers and acquisitions

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