By Liana B. Baker and Carl O’Donnell
(Reuters) – Logitech International SA <LOGN.S>, a Swiss manufacturer of keyboards and webcams, is in discussions to acquire Plantronics Inc <PLT.N>, a U.S. maker of Bluetooth earpieces and gaming headsets, people familiar with the matter said on Friday.
The deal would be by far Logitech’s largest acquisition and would illustrate the company’s push to diversify its business. It would 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 has offered more than $2.2 billion (£1.7 billion) to acquire Plantronics, one of the sources said. As of the end of trading on Friday, Plantronics had a market capitalisation of about $2 billion.
If the negotiations prove successful, a deal between Logitech and Plantronics could come as early as next week, the sources said, cautioning that it was also possible that no agreement would be reached.
The sources asked not to be identified because the negotiations are confidential. Plantronics declined to comment, while Logitech did not respond to a request for comment.
Plantronics shares jumped 5.6 percent to $56.50 on the news in after hours trading in New York on Friday.
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 <CSCO.O>, but also from major technology companies such as Microsoft Inc <MSFT.O> and Google owner Alphabet Inc <GOOGL.O>.
Founded in 1981, Logitech has been countering declining sales of personal computers by focussing 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 capitalisation 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 (NASA), including the ones worn by Neil Armstrong during his first moonwalk in 1969.
A sale of Plantronics would come on the heels of the company’s $2 billion acquisition in July of U.S. video-conferencing equipment maker Polycom Inc.
Private equity firm Siris Capital Group LLC owns 16 percent of Plantronics, making it its largest shareholder. Reuters had reported earlier this month that Plantronics was exploring a sale.
(Reporting by Liana B. Baker and Carl O’Donnell in New York; Additional reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Tom Brown)