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Startup offers to buy Cisco's WebEx for $1

Startup offers to buy Cisco's WebEx for $1

A collaboration startup is offering to buy Cisco's WebEx conferencing platform for $1 and 15% equity in the acquirer.

SalesCrunch is apparently serious about its offer. It wants to acquire WebEx intellectual property, assets and engineering talent to build out the SalesCrunch platform, which sounds like an updated, more intuitive and social conferencing system than WebEx.

BACKGROUND: Top tech M&A deals of 2012

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And it will be a competitor to WebEx -- if Cisco doesn't agree to sell WebEx to SalesCrunch. Then again, the offer could be a publicity stunt meant to draw attention to SalesCrunch and attract customers unsatisfied with WebEx.

Cisco bought WebEx in 2007 for $3 billion as a SaaS delivery platform for conferencing, and a very visible component of its overall collaboration arsenal. But analysts have argued that it's not a core competency of Cisco's and rumors were circulating over the past 18 months that Cisco might shed WebEx to focus on core markets and cut expenses, as it did with other non-core businesses, like the consumer-focused Flip and the Umi home TelePresence system, and some media and entertainment assets.

Cisco denied that it was planning or looking to sell off WebEx, arguing that it is indeed core to the company's mission of offering business collaboration tools that facilitate increased use of video, that in turn results in the need for customers to buy upgraded switches and routers.

Cisco did not comment on the SalesCrunch offer by posting time.

SalesCrunch was founded in 2010 by executives from Trulia, an online real estate site. SalesCrunch is backed by Accel Partners, First Round Capital, Nextview Ventures and AOL Ventures, and has raised $1.4 million in seed funding. It is headquartered in New York.

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