Aiming to profit from the “data tsunami” mobile carriers are facing with the continued use of smartphones, *Cisco* Systems has agreed to acquire mobile infrastructure firm Starent Networks, in a deal worth $35 per share — or roughly $2.9 billion. That’s about a 21 percent premium over Starent’s closing stock price of $29.03 Monday night, per the WSJ.
Founded in 2000, Starent makes software and apps that help carriers analyze, route and manage payment for the traffic flowing across their networks; it raised $126.4 million in its IPO in 2007. Cisco (NSDQ: CSCO) expects the deal to close in the first half of 2010, and will integrate the company into its new Mobile Internet Technology Group. Starent CEO Ashraf Dahod will head up the business. Starent has roughly 1,000 companies worldwide. It is not clear whether there will be any layoffs as part of the acquisition.