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Double Deals: Cisco Collaboration Set To Grow With Slido, IMImobile Buys

The tech giant plans to acquire two European audience engagement and CCaaS companies to inject more insight into the leading Webex collaboration platform, Jeetu Patel, Cisco’s SVP and GM of the security and applications Group, tells CRN.

Tech giant Cisco Systems is doubling down on collaboration with the announcement of two new acquisition targets that will make its Webex and cloud-based contact center platform more insightful.

San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco is investing heavily in its partner ecosystem to make its collaboration portfolio as integrated and seamless as possible for end users, said Jeetu Patel, Cisco’s senior vice president and general manager, security and applications Group, told CRN.

To that end, Cisco revealed its plan to buy London-based contact center-as-a-service (CCaaS) firm IMImobile PLC on Sunday for approximately $730 million, and Slido, an audience interaction technology specialist, for an undisclosed sum on Monday.

[Related: New Cisco Webex Features Promote Productive Remote Meetings, Safe Return To The Conference Room]

IMImobile offers contact center software and services that lets organizations to stay constantly connected to their customers. Cisco, along with IMImobile’s technology, will be able to embed and manage omnichannel communications, including WhatsApp and text messaging and phone calls, into the cloud-based Webex Contact Center offering to create “smarter” and more contextual and personalized interactions between contact center agents and end customers, Patel said.

For channel partners, Cisco’s programmable CCaaS offering will become even more customizable after the IMImobile deal closes, he added.

“This is an underlying platform that allows [partners] to integrate better with back-end systems,” Patel said. ”There’s a tremendous amount of opportunity for partners to add value there.”

Patel said that the CCaaS space has been growing rapidly, especially as businesses invest in bolstering customer experience in the face of the global COVID-19 pandemic. “There’s a massive upsurge in demand because people want to make sure customer experience is at the forefront,” he said.

The deal between Cisco and IMImobile is based on a recommended cash offer pursuant to which Cisco will pay 595 pence per share in exchange for each share of IMImobile for an aggregate purchase price of approximately $730 million in U.S. dollars. Cisco will assume fully diluted shares, net of cash and including debt. The exchange rate for the deal was derived from Bloomberg, Cisco said in a statement.

The planned purchase of Slido, a privately held technology company headquartered in Bratislava, Slovakia, on the other hand, will give Cisco Webex users in small meetings or large events the ability to create more engaging and interactive participant experiences and generate feedback in the form of Q&As or polls in real-time, which will inform presenters that they are connecting in a meaningful way with their audience, Cisco said.

“We are integrating [Slido] deeply into Webex. What we also will do is to make sure it keeps getting integrated into Microsoft Teams, Powerpoint, Google Slides, Meet, and Zoom. We want to keep an open ecosystem with Slido,” Patel said.

Slido’s audience engagement platform has more than 7 million participants monthly. Cisco and Slido did not disclose financial terms of the deal.

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