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Cisco kicks shrivelling video software unit back to Dr Martens owner

Word on the street: it's getting far less than $5 beeellion it paid

Cisco has kicked its video software business back to Permira, the owner of iconic Brit boot brand Dr Martens, having originally bought it off the private equity fund in 2012 for $5bn (£3.6bn).

Neither parties disclosed how much Cisco's Service Provider Video Software Solutions unit went for, but reports suggest the deal was worth $1bn (£732m).

The unit has posted declining revenues for some time, with revs falling 10 per cent to $227m (£166m) in the last quarter of 2017.

Martin Courtney, analyst at TechMarketView, said: "Cisco will be glad to get rid of a business that has seen consistent revenue decline since pretty much day one."

Permira is buying the outfit, formerly known as the NDS Group, in order to create a separate video business for the pay-TV market.

Its offering will include Cisco's Infinite Video Platform, cloud digital video recording, video processing, video security, video middleware, and service groups.

Abe Peled, former NDS CEO and adviser to Permira, will head the new company. "I am thrilled to be working again in this area with Permira," he said.

Meanwhile, Switchzilla has ingested business intelligence startup Accompany for a cool $270m (£197m).

Accompany apparently uses artificial intelligence to build databases of people and relationships at companies.

Indraneel Arampatta, analyst at Megabuyte, said the deals are part of Cisco's slow shift towards software-defined networking.

"The sale of these video assets isn't necessarily a surprise, given their focus on legacy hardware technologies and Cisco's strategic direction.

"However, what it does highlight, alongside the acquisition of Accompany, is Cisco's broader focus on software and software-defined solutions across its broader portfolio, whether software-defined solutions that disrupt traditional networking hardware components or internet delivered collaboration tools and security."

Ravenous Cisco has devoured a number of companies in this space in recent years, including two big splurges on real-time monitoring software business AppDynamics for $3.7bn (£2.7bn) last January, and unified comms biz Broadsoft for $1.9bn (£1.4bn) in October.

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