Google Bids $68 Million for VoIP Provider

Google Inc. said that it will lay $68.2 million in cash, or $2.12 per share, on the table for Global IP Solutions Inc.(GIPS), a San Francisco, CA-based provider of voice and video over IP networks.

GIPS's board of directors has recommended the offer to the company's shareholders, 90 percent of whom must accept the deal for it to go through.

Officials said that the transaction already is backed by owners of 50 percent of GIPS's shares, including Kistefos Venture Capital, which owns about 11.9 million shares representing 37 percent of the company's outstanding issues.

GIPS, which maintains offices in Stockholm, Sweden, Boston, MA and Hong Kong and is publicly traded on the Oslo Stock Exchange, sports some big names among its 150 customers, including Yahoo!, IBM Corp., Citrix Systems Inc., Cisco Systems Inc.'s WebEx division and Nortel Networks, among others. 

"The Web is evolving quickly as a development platform, and real-time video and audio communication over the Internet are becoming important new tools for users," said Rian Liebenberg, Google engineering director.

Google's interest in buying GIPS likely stems, at least in part, from the VoIP provider's technology enabling chatting on applications running Google's Android mobile operating system.

Last year, Google snapped up two other VoIP providers, in August landing On2, a maker of video compression technology, for $106.5 million, and in November, securing Gizmo5 for a reported $30 million to improve Google Voice and as a competitive lever to Skype.

Google's offer, which will expire on June 4 but may be extended under certain conditions, will be funded from the company's existing cash storehouse. If the two companies can't complete the deal by August 31, the offer will lapse, officials said.

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