The Canadian branch of the multinational technology firm Siemens AG has reached an agreement to acquire Toronto networking and communications company RuggedCom Inc., the companies announced Monday. The agreement would see Siemens Canada Ltd. pay $33 per RuggedCom share, totalling about $382 million. The deal is expected to close in March with the support of the RuggedCom board, the companies said. “After receiving the recommendation of its Special Committee ... and in consultation with its financial and legal advisors, the Board of Directors of RuggedCom has unanimously determined that the Siemens Offer is in the best interests of RuggedCom,” RuggedCom said in a release. “Accordingly, the RuggedCom Board has agreed to recommend to RuggedCom shareholders that they accept the Siemens Offer and tender their shares to the offer.” The acquisition agreement follows an unsolicited takeover bid by competing communications and networking company Belden Inc., which in December offered $22 per share. At the time, RuggedCom’s board said Belden’s bid was insufficient, recommended that shareholders vote against it, and designed a “shareholders’ rights” defence to prevent the acquisition from going through. The company solicited other bids in response to Belden’s efforts and “received enquiries from a number of parties,” the company said. The Siemens bid represents a 142 per cent premium over the closing price of RuggedCom stocks on Dec. 16, the last day the stock traded before the Belden bid, RuggedCom said. The new bid contains a minimum tender condition that ensures Siemens will only be required to follow through on the deal if it can acquire two-thirds of the company’s shares. RuggedCom said it expects to release a take-over bid circular to shareholders in early February. Belden announced Friday it would allow its bid to expire on Feb. 9.