Cisco plans to acquire privately-held Meraki in a bid to increase its Cloud-based services offering.

The US networking specialist, which is paying 1.2 billion dlrs for Meraki, said in a press release the acquisition will complement and expand its strategy to offer more software-based services aimed at simplifying network management and empowering mobile workforces.

Meraki offers midmarket customers scalable networking products that can be centrally managed from the Cloud.

Cisco said Meraki will also strengthen its Unified Access Platform, which helps simplify IT operations by uniting networks, policy and management in an integrated network infrastructure.

"The acquisition of Meraki enables Cisco to make simple, secure, cloud managed networks available to our global customer base of mid-sized businesses and enterprises," said Rob Soderbery, senior vice president, Cisco Enterprise Networking Group. He noted in a conference call that these companies generally don't have the resources to integrate complex IT solutions.

Soderbery said the acquisition, which is expected to close in the second quarter of 2013, will complement Cisco's existing portfolio of services, which is heavily oriented toward bigger corporations. "Meraki is a perfect strategic fit," he said.

The existing Meraki management team will continue to run the company's operations for Cisco, Soderbery said.