Cisco To Acquire BNI Video For $99 Million

Cisco Systems announced plans to acquire privately-held BNI Video, a startup backed by Comcast and Time Warner Cable that sells a Web-based video-on-demand system, for about $99 million in cash and retention-based incentives.

Cisco already owned a stake in the Boxborough, Mass.-based company, which raised more than $16 million from investors including Comcast, TWC, and venture capital firms Charles River Ventures and Castile Ventures.

BNI supplies service providers with two major video products, which offer video back-office and content delivery network analytic capabilities. According to Cisco, the acquisition will round out the capabilities of its Videoscape TV platform, aimed at letting service providers deliver video to any device over IP networks.

The BNI acquisition, subject to standard closing conditions, is expected to be completed in the second quarter of Cisco's fiscal year 2012, which ends Jan. 28, 2012.

Upon close of the deal, BNI's 72 employees will be integrated into Cisco's Service Provider Video Technology Group. A Cisco spokeswoman said no layoffs are expected.

"Cisco is committed to working with our service provider customers to deliver next-generation IP-based video experiences across devices," Marthin De Beer, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Emerging Business Group, said in a statement. "Service providers globally are embracing our Videoscape vision, and today with the acquisition of BNI Video, we are augmenting our Videoscape platform and giving customers a clear migration path to Videoscape."

Comcast and Time Warner Cable both commented on Cisco's acquisition announcement.

"As a founding investor in BNI Video, Comcast Ventures recognized the potential for this technology to play a critical role in advancing video experiences for Comcast's customers," Comcast chief technology officer Tony Werner said in a prepared statement. "With the combined expertise in IP video systems, Cisco and BNI Video offer service providers a compelling software and infrastructure platform to efficiently deliver video content to multiple devices."

Time Warner Cable CTO Mike LaJoie added, "Time Warner Cable invested early in BNI Video, as it brought a unique software platform to market that addresses the back-office complexities of delivering TV Everywhere services. Combining forces with Cisco presents an opportunity to take video service providers to the next level with Internet video, helping to manage networks more efficiently to deliver advanced TV entertainment experiences to consumers."

Cisco's bid for BNI Video follows its recent acquisitions of ExtendMedia in August 2010 and Inlet Technologies in February 2011, which also were aimed at strengthening Cisco's Videoscape portfolio. The company said that BNI's headquarters in Boxborough will augment Cisco's presence in the greater Boston area. Previous acquisitions in the region include Starent Networks and LineSider.

BNI was founded in February 2009 by CEO Conrad Clemson, who previously senior director of engineering at Motorola, which he joined in 2006 through the acquisition of video-on-demand startup Broadbus Technologies.

BNI has described its "video control plane" software as providing the capability to deploy video and other next-generation content services to any endpoint more easily, quickly and reliably than competing solutions. The "BNI" in the company's name stands for Beaumaris Networks Inc., which is its formal corporate name.