November 25, 2018 / 10:59 PM / in 23 days

Logitech ends negotiations to acquire Plantronics

Nov 25 (Reuters) - Logitech International SA, a Swiss manufacturer of keyboards and webcams, said on Sunday it had ended discussions to acquire Plantronics Inc, a U.S. maker of Bluetooth earpieces and gaming headsets.

The announcement came after Reuters reported on the negotiations between Logitech and Plantronics last Friday. Logitech confirmed the talks on Sunday, but said they had now been terminated. Plantronics offered no immediate comment.

Logitech and Plantronics were hoping to successfully conclude negotiations this week, but Logitech's board decided on Sunday to walk away from the potential deal, according to people familiar with the matter who requested anonymity to discuss the confidential discussions.

Logitech terminated negotiations over price disagreements, according to one of the sources. Plantronics was looking to sell itself for well over $3 billion, two of the sources said. Plantronics had a market capitalization of about $2 billion as of the end of trading on Friday.

The deal would have been by far Logitech's largest acquisition, amid a push to diversify its business beyond computer peripherals. It would have come as Logitech and Plantronics seek to keep down manufacturing costs following the introduction of tariffs on imports from China into the United States.

Logitech's and Plantronics' businesses have been under pressure as a result of new offerings being developed, not just from network gear makers such as Cisco Systems Inc, but from major technology companies such as Microsoft Inc and Google owner Alphabet Inc.

Founded in 1981, Logitech has been countering declining sales of personal computers by focusing on consumer accessories that are benefiting from the growth of cloud computing, such as gaming, music, smart home connectivity and video conferencing. The Lausanne-based company has a market capitalization of $5.6 billion.

Last year, Logitech acquired ASTRO Gaming for $85 million in cash to expand in the video game sector.

Santa Cruz, California-based Plantronics makes unified communications systems, wireless headsets, conferencing systems, and some software, which it sells to businesses and consumers.

Founded in 1961, Plantronics' first products were lightweight headsets for airline pilots. It later became known for selling headsets to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, including the ones worn by Neil Armstrong during his first moonwalk in 1969.

A sale of Plantronics would have come on the heels of the company's $2 billion acquisition in July of U.S. video-conferencing equipment maker Polycom Inc. (Reporting by Liana B. Baker and Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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