Huawei! Huawei! We Own a Minority Stake in 3Com!
Looks like the leveraged-buyout market isn’t as lousy as you’d think. This morning 3Com agreed to be acquired by private-equity firm Bain Capital Partners LLC for about $2.2 billion in cash. As part of the deal, which is to close in the first quarter, Chinese networking giant Huawei Technologies will take a minority stake of 10% in 3Com. “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,” said Edgar Masri, 3Com’s chief executive officer. “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.”
Don’t forget shareholders. 3Com’s stock spiked on news of the deal, sending it upward 36%, or $1.33, to $5.01, in morning trading.
For 3Com, the deal is another turn in its byzantine relationship with Huawei. In November 2003, the two companies allied to found router and switch manufacturer Huawei-3Com. Then, in March of this year, 3Com paid $882 million to buy Huawei out of the joint venture. Now Huawei’s got a minority stake in 3Com that may well increase over time. Could end up that China’s fast-growing networking-equipment vendor will end up controlling 3Com after all …