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3Com to be acquired by equity firm

Michael Morisy

3Com has announced it will be acquired by private equity firm Bain Capital Partners in a US$2.2 billion deal.

The often struggling networking vendor announced in a release that its board of directors unanimously approved the merger, and the board will recommend that 3Com's shareholders adopt the agreement. The acquisition is expected to be completed by the first quarter in 2008.

"The 3Com board of directors and senior management team have thoroughly reviewed our strategic alternatives and have determined that the agreement with Bain Capital provides the best value for 3Com shareholders," stated 3Com president and CEO Edgar Masri in a press release. "We believe that this agreement better positions 3Com to establish itself as a global networking leader, which will benefit our employees, our customers and our partners."

3Com is the second large vendor to be acquired by a private equity firm in recent months. Communications provider Avaya in June entered a definitive agreement to be acquired by private equity firms Silver Lake Partners and TPG. That deal was approved today by the company's stock holders at a special meeting.

In 3Com's case, Bain Capital managing director Jonathan Zhu said the acquisition will create growth opportunities and the ability to introduce new products.

"As business becomes ever more global, companies need to enhance their technology infrastructure to compete more effectively in the broader economy," Zhu said in

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a statement.