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Tandberg shareholders to Cisco: Put a bigger diamond on that ring

Cisco’s deal to buy Tandberg could be on ice.

When Cisco and Tandberg agreed to their video marriage two weeks ago, the dowry was set at $3 billion. And the deal was contingent upon the approval of the owners of 90% of Tandberg’s stock.

According to Reuters (via GigaOm), Swedish brokerage SEB Enskilda has told Cisco that it represents 21 shareholders who own 24% of Tandberg’s stock, and those shareholders want more money.  “We think the price is too low,” Amund Lunde told Reuters. Lunde is CEO of life insurance firm Oslo Pensjonsforsikring, which owns 1% of Tandberg, It’s not clear what it would take to win over these holdouts, but clearly Cisco will have to dig deeper to get a controlling interest in the company.

Apparently investors have been telling the Norwegian press that something stinks about the Tandberg deal. According to the Financial Times (via Norwegian language site Dagen IT) Rasmussen Group CEO Rune Selmar said Cisco’s promise of three-year bonus agreements to “key” Tandberg employees “probably explains part of management’s positive attitude to the acquisition.”

Ouch. That sounds awfully close to an ugly accusation.

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