Stephen Simpson, CFA
Stephen Simpson, CFA
Tue, Jun. 7, 3:42 PM| Tue, Jun. 7, 3:42 PM | 4 Comments
Dec. 15, 2015, 2:13 PM
- Markets are giving a thumbs-up to news recently-appointed F5 (NASDAQ:FFIV) CEO Manny Rivelo has resigned due to an undisclosed personal conduct issue, and will be replaced (for now at least) by long-time CEO John McAdam. The Nasdaq is up 1.3%.
- "Management disruption increases the potential for F5 to seek a strategic buyer in 2016 concurrent with a search for a new CEO," writes Pac Crest's Brent Bracelin. RBC also thinks F5 could be an acquisition target, and notes the company has $1.2B in cash and no debt.
- By contrast, William Blair's Jason Ader (downgraded in November following F5's analyst day) is worried "the number of recent executive departures is alarming and could be disruptive to the business" at some point in FY16 (ends Sep. '16). "Overall, we continue to view F5 as stuck in a catch-22 situation where shares will be penalized for either the pursuit of growth, which we believe requires greater investment to succeed (thus cutting into margins), or value (which will protect margins but hurt growth)."
- Nomura's Jeff Kvaal sees the CEO change potentially disrupting FQ1 (calendar Q4). But he declares McAdam to be "the best candidate to propel F5 beyond this unexpected, and unfortunate, turn of events." F5 has reiterated its FQ1 guidance (issued on Oct. 28).
Feb. 6, 2015, 10:14 AM
- Ahead of its acquisition by P-E firm Thoma Bravo, Riverbed has struck a deal to sell its SteelApp virtual (software-based) application delivery controller (ADC) business to Brocade (BRCD +0.6%) for an undisclosed sum. JPMorgan observes the business had 2014 revenue of $55M.
- ADCs balance loads and provide other higher-level traffic management and security services to servers running Web and enterprise apps. The market's growth has slowed in recent years, but the virtual ADC segment has been a strong point - Dell'Oro estimates virtual ADC sales grew 17% Y/Y in Q3, while physical ADCs fell 1%.
- SteelApp has a bit in common with Brocade's Vyatta virtual router line: They both offer software that allows networking functionality to be migrated to commodity hardware, and thereby serve as examples of network functions virtualization (NFV).
- Brocade, which had already developed a virtual ADC through Vyatta: "We are thrilled to add SteelApp's widely-adopted solution to our portfolio and will invest our existing ADC resources to aggressively advance [our] roadmap and extend it into our open Vyatta Platform offering for NFV and SDN."
- The purchase takes aim at F5 (FFIV +1.2%), which has long dominated the ADC market (52% estimated Q3 share) with the help of its proprietary TMOS OS and related ecosystem, but which also hasn't been immune to the ADC hardware market's slowdown. F5 stated on its FQ1 CC (transcript) virtual ADCs were the fastest-growing part of a software business that saw 44% Y/Y growth.
May 22, 2014, 7:12 PM
- F5 (FFIV) has bought Defense.net, a provider of cloud-based security services for protecting against DDoS attacks. Terms are undisclosed.
- The purchase follows a string of high-profile DDoS attacks affecting sites/platforms such as Vimeo, Meetup, Bit.ly, and TypePad.
- Defense.net's services will complement various on-premise F5 solutions (inc. firewall and load balancing products) that can be applied towards dealing with DDoS threats. Many peers are also pairing on-premise security hardware/software with cloud services.
- F5's security hardware has turned into a key growth driver as the company deals with relatively muted demand in its core application delivery controller (ADC) market, as well as some competitive pressure from software-based (virtual) ADCs. F5 mentioned on its FQ2 CC (transcript) it had two multi-million dollar security sales wins during the quarter.
Sep. 17, 2013, 2:06 PM
- Looking to challenge Cisco (CSCO +0.3%), Check Point (CHKP +0.9%), and market leader Palo Alto Networks (PANW +1.1%) in the growing next-gen firewall (NGFW) hardware market, H-P (HPQ -0.4%) has launched its TippingPoint NGFW line. (PR)
- Five models are being offered, the most powerful of which offers 10Gbps of throughput. Palo Alto's high-end PA-5060 firewall offers 20Gbps of throughput. Though H-P plans to continue selling TippingPoint intrusion prevention (IPS) appliances, the functionality of its new hardware leads Gartner's Greg Young to view the latter as a replacement for the former.
- Young estimates NGFWs have grown to make up 15% of the $8B firewall market.
- H-P is also launching Threat Central, a cloud-based service that analyzes potential threats detected by the company's ArcSight security software.
- Consider the moves an escalation of H-P's rivalry with Cisco. Cisco is set to acquire IPS leader Sourcefire, which has also rolled out hardware that combines NGFW and IPS features, and recently formed a managed security services unit.
- Meanwhile, F5 (FFIV +0.8%) has acquired Versafe, a developer of online fraud protection software and a cloud-based monitoring service, for an undisclosed sum. F5 declares Versafe's products will complement its firewall and access/policy management hardware, as well as its mobile app management software.
- Versafe can already be integrated with F5's mainstay application delivery controllers. In a blog post discussing the deal, F5 argues the ongoing rise of remote/mobile file access increases Versafe's value.
- H-P and F5's moves comes amid growing corporate interest in cybersecurity, following well-publicized hacking events.
Mar. 22, 2013, 9:26 AM
Fortinet (FTNT) is encroaching on F5's (FFIV) turf by acquiring Coyote Point Systems, a maker of application delivery controllers (ADCs) for SMBs. Fortinet claims Coyote Point's products, which (like F5's) rely on a proprietary OS, complement its core FortiGate unified threat management security hardware, as well as its firewall and denial-of-service appliances. The purchase comes as F5, which sells to enterprises and carriers in addition to SMBs, launches firewall hardware, as well as security modules for its ADCs.| Mar. 22, 2013, 9:26 AM
Feb. 4, 2013, 11:10 AM
A slew of telecom hardware and software firms are higher following Oracle's deal to acquire Acme Packet (I, II). The big winners include VoIP/unified communications software providers BroadSoft (BSFT +7.7%) and AudioCodes (AUDC +4.2%), and volatile deep packet inspection hardware plays Allot (ALLT +4.6%) and Procera (PKT +5.9%). Juniper (JNPR +1.4%), F5 (FFIV +1.2%), and Ciena (CIEN +1.6%) are also higher - Juniper is the frequent subject of M&A speculation, but its $11.7B market cap poses a challenge. (Sonus and Riverbed)| Feb. 4, 2013, 11:10 AM
Jul. 30, 2012, 5:59 PM
Bernstein's Mark Moerdler defends Citrix (CTXS -5.9%) in the wake of Oracle's (ORCL) acquisition of Xsigo. Moerdler notes Citrix's NetScaler switches are more complementary than competitive to Xsigo's gear (ed: NetScaler competes more with F5's solutions). An Oracle presentation (.pdf) explaining the deal focuses on Xsigo's ability to eliminate the need to manually connect individual servers with networking and storage resources. This leads The Register to wonder if more networking acquisitions are in the cards. (also)| Jul. 30, 2012, 5:59 PM
Feb. 21, 2012, 2:39 PM
F5 Networks (FFIV) is moving to expand its presence in the mobile infrastructure market. F5, whose applications delivery controllers often interface with servers delivering mobile content, is acquiring Traffix Systems, a provider of traffic signaling software for 4G networks. F5 is also announcing partnerships with several providers of mobile device management software.| Feb. 21, 2012, 2:39 PM
Jan. 20, 2012, 9:14 AMIDC thinks the rapid growth of the market for WAN optimization gear, used to improve Internet access speeds for remote offices, could make market leader Riverbed (RVBD) an acquisition target this year, in spite of its $4.5B market cap. FFIV and AKAM are also seen as buyout targets. Riverbed recently bought the assets of smaller rival Expand Networks. | Jan. 20, 2012, 9:14 AM
Aug. 15, 2011, 7:55 AM
F5 Networks (FFIV), which fell hard during the market's decline before rallying on a Friday upgrade, is acquiring the assets of rival Crescendo Networks. Crescendo has been a thorn in F5's side, and acquiring the company's FPGA chip technology could allow F5 to more quickly support new protocols and feature sets in its switches.| Aug. 15, 2011, 7:55 AM