Cisco to sell Linksys to Belkin

Practically 10 years to the day after being snatched up by Cisco, Linksys is bracing for another change of ownership. This time, Belkin says it has agreed to purchase Cisco's Home Networking Business Unit—including Linksys—from Cisco for an undisclosed sum. The deal is set to close some time in March.

According to Belkin, the acquisition will involve the "products, technology, . . . and talented employees" from Cisco's home networking division, plus the Linksys brand. There will apparently be a "strategic relationship," too, but the press release is a little vague on that topic. Here's the relevant snippet:

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.

Belkin expects to preserve the Linksys brand and to honor product warranties. Belkin also points out that, once the deal goes through, its share of the home and small business networking market will swell to "approximately 30 percent" in the United States. (The firm already has its own line of networking products, naturally.)

Cisco purchased Linksys back in March 2003 for $500 million. At the time, Cisco wanted to "drive innovations into the consumer market." Now, according to Bloomberg, Cisco is ditching consumer operations (like its Flip camera unit, which it shuttered in 2011) in order to "focus on higher-margin sales to businesses." Bloomberg says Linksys sales have slipped by 35% over the past couple of years.

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