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Softbank and Cisco sweeten alliance

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New York-Cisco Systems Inc., the maker of computer network equipment, and Softbank Corp., a Japanese financial conglomerate with a focus on the Internet, are strengthening their ties. In a three-part deal announced Wednesday, Cisco is buying a 1% stake in Softbank for $200 million, repurchasing most of Softbank's stake in Ciscos's Japan unit for $275 million and investing another $1.5 billion over several years in an Asian venture capital fund that Softbank will manage. The deal enhances the relationship between the two companies, which dates back to 1994 when Softbank took a 12% stake in Cisco Japan and helped Cisco establish ties with other Japanese companies.
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