Belkin Plucks Linksys Brand From Cisco

Paul Lilly

Cisco found a way out of the consumer networking market, thanks to Belkin.

Call it an end of an era, if you wish, but Cisco is hightailing it out of the consumer space after selling off its Home Networking Business Unit to Belkin for an undisclosed sum of money. The deal includes the familiar Linksys brand, which Cisco acquired back in 2003. At the time, Linksys had 305 employees and revenues of more than $500 million. All of its products were branded Linksys by Cisco following the transaction, though Cisco has reportedly been looking to get out of the consumer space for some time now.

Cisco dropkicked its Flip video camera division in 2011, eliminating around 550 jobs in the process and taking a $300 million charge. By selling its Home Networking division to Belkin, Cisco is pretty much out of the consumer space at this point.

"We’re very excited about this announcement," said Chet Pipkin, CEO of Belkin. "Our two organizations share many core beliefs – we have similar beginnings and share a passion for meeting the real needs of our customers through the strengths of an entrepreneurial culture. Belkin’s ultimate goal is to be the global leader in the connected home and wireless networking space and this acquisition is an important step to realizing that vision."

Belkin said it intends to maintain the Linksys brand and will offer support to existing owners as part of the transaction. All current and future Linksys warranties will be honored by Belkin, the company said.

Once the deal closes, Belkin will account for nearly a third -- 30 percent -- of the U.S. retail home and small business networking market.

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