If Cisco buys you, you're 1 in 100

BusinessWeek article profiles vendor's M&A activity

BusinessWeek profiled Cisco's M&A strategy this week and found that for every company Cisco's buys, it's looked at 100. Cisco has 50 people sizing up acquisitions all the time, the story states.

In those 100 evaluations, 10 get to the "serious level of conversation" stage, says Charles Carmel, Cisco's vice president of corporate development, in the story. Only one is chosen, however, for a 1% hit rate.

Cisco's internal Emerging Markets group, which incubates entries into new $1 billion opportunities, seeks a 2% hit rate we've been told.

Carmel said Cisco will remain active this year and on a pace that's saw the company acquire six organizations in 2009, including Tandberg, Starent and Pure Digital. Carmel was instrumental in the Pure Digital deal, and in those that brought - or bought - Scientific-Atlanta and WebEx to Cisco.

He characterized the first half of 2009 as the nuclear winter, one in which Cisco only acquired two companies -- Pure Digital and Tidal Software. It went on to acquire another four before the end of the year.

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