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Cisco Systems, Inc. (CSCO)

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  • Wed, May 13, 5:33 PM
    • During Cisco's (NASDAQ:CSCO) FQ3 earnings call, John Chambers said he "would not bet" on a security M&A rumor heard today.
    • That was an apparent reference to FireEye (NASDAQ:FEYE), whose shares jumped on unconfirmed rumors that Cisco had made a bid.
    • FireEye has fallen to $41.71 in AH trading following Chambers' remarks. Shares are still up $0.41 from Monday's close.
    | 14 Comments
  • Wed, Apr. 1, 12:27 PM
    • Cisco (CSCO -1%) is buying Embrane, a provider of virtual (software-based) firewall and load balancer appliances, and (perhaps more importantly for Cisco) a software platform for deploying and managing virtual appliances (whether Embrane's or a third party's). Terms are undisclosed.
    • Embrane's team is joining Cisco's Insieme SDN/switching unit; the networking giant argues Embrane's offerings will strengthen the feature set of its Nexus data center switch line and ACI SDN/networking virtualization platform (seeing healthy growth, in pitched battle with VMware's NSX).
    • SDXCentral observes Embrane could help Cisco support higher-level (Layer 4-7) network traffic management via ACI. Along the way, Embrane's IP could help Cisco better address a virtual networking/security appliance market that (by enabling commodity servers to be quickly turned into switches, firewalls, etc.) has been easily outgrowing the market for physical appliances.
    | 3 Comments
  • Wed, Feb. 25, 3:16 PM
    • Bloomberg reports HP (HPQ -10.1%) is in talks to acquire enterprise Wi-Fi hardware/software provider Aruba Networks (ARUN +22.5%), and that a deal could be announced as soon as next week. Aruba has skyrocketed on the report, and has taken rival Ruckus (RKUS +4.7%) higher with it. Aruba's market cap is now around $2.5B.
    • Aruba is the enterprise Wi-Fi market's #2 player - behind Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO), which towers over the space - and HP is also in the top-5. IDC estimates Cisco, Aruba, Ruckus, and HP respectively had Q2 2014 enterprise Wi-Fi shares of 46.8%, 11.8%, 6.2%, and 4.5%.
    • HP, whose shares have plunged today due to an FQ1 revenue miss and soft guidance, saw its total networking revenue drop 11% Y/Y in FQ1 - "execution issues" in the U.S. and China were blamed. The IT giant has suggested it's open to making enterprise acquisitions ahead of its PC/printing spinoff.
    | 5 Comments
  • Dec. 10, 2014, 5:13 PM
    • Neohapsis provides security advisory services to Fortune 500 companies in fields including risk management, compliance, cloud services, and mobile. Cisco's (NASDAQ:CSCO) acquisition price is undisclosed.
    • Neohapsis will be added to Cisco's security services unit. formed a year ago with the goals of better supporting Cisco's security hardware and offering new managed services. Many peers have also been adding to their security service lineups, as enterprises increasingly look for integrated hardware/software/services solutions to deal with security threats.
    • Cisco, looking to keep pace with smaller, faster-growing rivals such as Palo Alto Networks and Fortinet, bought malware-protection software firm ThreatGRID in May, and launched a managed threat defense service a month before that. Last year, it struck a $2.7B deal to buy intrusion prevention system (IPS) vendor SoureFire.
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  • Oct. 22, 2014, 9:28 AM
    • Confirming yesterday's Bloomberg report, Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) and EMC state the latter will take control of the companies' VCE JV. Cisco's stake will be cut to 10% from 35%, VMware (currently has a sub-10% stake) will maintain an interest, and the business will be included in EMC's income statement after the deal closes in Q4.
    • The companies add VCE was on a $2B/year run rate for its Vblock converged server/storage/networking systems exiting Q3, and that the quarter was its sixth consecutive one of 50%+ Y/Y growth. VCE previously forecast 2014 sales of $1.8B. Gartner and IDC have ranked VCE the leader in a converged infrastructure market that also features Oracle, H-P, IBM, and Dell.
    • The Vblock like makes use of Cisco's servers and data center switches, EMC's storage systems, and VMware's virtualization and systems management software. Cisco, EMC, and VCE have "existing and renewed multi-year engineering, resell and support agreements" between them.
    • Nonetheless, Cisco's decision to cut its VCE stake could pave the way for it to directly compete against Vblock through its UCS server ops, particularly given the recent launch of the UCS Mini (less powerful than Vblock hardware, but also a converged system).
    • Separately, EMC has issued nearly in-line guidance to go with its its mixed Q3 results: The company expects 2014 revenue of $24.5B and EPS of $1.90 vs. a consensus of $24.54B and $1.91.
    • EMC +0.7% premarket. CSCO +0.3%.
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  • Oct. 21, 2014, 7:48 PM
    • Bloomberg reports EMC plans to announce tomorrow it's buying out much of Cisco's (NASDAQ:CSCO) stake in the companies' VCE JV, which sells high-end integrated server/storage/networking systems (the Vblock line). EMC owns 58% of VCE, and Cisco 35%.
    • The report shortly follows a statement from EMC that the company will be announcing a "new business development" tomorrow, to go with its Q3 report.
    • Taking a larger stake in VCE would allow EMC to recognize the fast-growing unit's sales in its quarterly results at a time when its standalone storage hardware sales remain pressured by high-end weakness. In May, VCE predicted its sales would rise 80% in 2014 to $1.8B.
    • Cisco stated in July it had invested $716M in VCE, and recorded $644M in losses related to it, since the JV's 2010 founding. CRN reported two weeks ago Cisco is thinking of "ending further financial investment in VCE."
    • Letting EMC take control of VCE would leave Cisco's server efforts focused on its UCS blade/rack server line (leveraged by VCE), which has been growing quickly itself and is now on a $3B/year run rate. Cisco recently added an integrated system to its UCS lineup (the UCS Mini), albeit one less powerful than VCE's systems.
    • EMC is now only up 1.1% AH. Shares were previously higher on hopes the "new business development" would be a VMware (NYSE:VMW) spinoff. VMware, meanwhile, is now only down 1.4% AH after providing light Q4 guidance.
    | 6 Comments
  • Sep. 24, 2014, 2:33 PM
    • John Chambers has dismissed speculation Cisco (CSCO +1.3%) could make a bid for EMC (EMC -1.1%). "If [EMC CEO Joe Tucci] and I were going to do something here, we would have done it a year or two ago."
    • Likely an issue today: A Cisco deal would raise antitrust issues in the network virtualization/SDN software space, where VMware (VMW -0.3%) and Cisco have emerged as the early leaders. Also, Cisco's storage networking unit relies on OEM deals with EMC rivals (in addition to EMC).
    • Meanwhile, re/code reports Oracle (ORCL +1.5%), another company whose name was thrown around in EMC deal speculation, is also uninterested.
    • Recent reports stated EMC has held merger talks with H-P, but failed to agree (for now, anyway) on a price. Sources (possibly hoping to drum up M&A interest in EMC) added a deal with Cisco or Oracle was also possible. Re/code backs up the part about the H-P talks, while adding H-P was largely interested in owning VMware VMW via EMC.
    • Many on the Street still think EMC will make a deal before Tucci's planned Feb. 2015 retirement. Tucci hasn't named a successor yet; Argus' Jim Kelleher consider ex-CFO David Goulden, now the head of EMC's storage hardware/software unit, to be the favorite. VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger and Pivotal CEO Paul Maritz are also in the running.
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  • Sep. 17, 2014, 8:24 AM
    • Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) has announced its intent to acquire Metacloud, a privately held company which deploys and operates private clouds for global organizations.
    • Since announcing its Intercloud strategy this past March, Cisco has been enlisting key technology partners and service and cloud providers, to accelerate the company's strategy to build the world's largest global Intercloud.
    • Metacloud's OpenStack-based cloud platform already delivers and remotely operates production-ready private clouds in a customer's data center.
    • The acquisition of Metacloud is expected to be completed in Q1 of FY2015.
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  • Jun. 30, 2014, 1:24 PM
    • Assemblage offers Web-based online meeting, presentation broadcasting, screen-sharing, and whiteboarding apps that integrate with a variety of 3rd-party cloud services and support 40 different file types.
    • The purchase bolsters Cisco's (CSCO +0.7%) collaboration software unit, which is headlined by its WebEx (Web conferencing) and Jabber (IP-based voice, video, and messaging) tools. Terms are undisclosed.
    • The business has been a pocket of strength for Cisco: Though its total collaboration revenue fell 12% Y/Y in FQ3 (orders rose 4%) due to videoconferencing hardware weakness, WebEx revenue was up 7%.
    • Cisco recently struck a deal with Jive Software to integrate WebEx/Jabber with Jive's enterprise social networking software. The deal has fueled some speculation Cisco could make a bid for Jive.
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  • Jun. 17, 2014, 9:29 AM
    • Cisco (CSCO) is buying Tail-f Systems, a Swedish provider of network orchestration software for carriers, for $175M in cash + retention incentives.
    • Tail-f's software enables the rapid provisioning of apps/services over networks featuring hardware and virtual appliances from multiple vendors. Its offerings can be used to enable SDN implementations (likely of particular interest to Cisco), but can also work with more conventional networks.
    • Light Reading notes AT&T and Deutsche Telekom are Tail-f clients - both are hatching big SDN initiatives that present challenges for Cisco - and that its revenue is believed to be below $30M. CEO Fredrik Lundberg insists Tail-f will continue its multi-vendor support post-acquisition.
    • The purchase follows Cisco's 2012 acquisitions of network management/planning software firm Cariden and policy control software vendor BroadHop, and provides a fresh use for its offshore cash. Cisco has set a goal of doubling its software sales from 2012-2017.
    • Carrier routing archrival Juniper bought network management software firm WANDL last year. Cyan (CYNI) is an independent player in the network orchestration space.
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  • May 21, 2014, 10:45 AM
    • Cisco (CSCO +1.1%) is buying ThreatGRID, a developer of malware-protection and threat-intelligence software (both on-premise and cloud-based). Terms are undisclosed.
    • ThreatGrid also provides an on-premise hardware appliance for makware analysis, and multiple analytics tools for studying security threats. Cisco states the company's offerings will strengthen its Advanced Malware Protection portfolio, acquired last year through the Sourcefire deal.
    • SecurityCurrent's Richard Stiennon argues ThreatGrid's sandboxing technology for dealing with malware threats fills "an important gap" in Cisco's product line, given rivals such as Palo Alto Networks, Fortinet, and FireEye already have sandbox solutions.
    • Cisco is counting on M&A and new services to halt recent security share losses to smaller rivals. A new managed threat defense service was launched last month.
    • Yesterday: Chambers predicts "brutal" IT consolidation
    | 1 Comment
  • Dec. 17, 2013, 2:26 PM
    • Cisco (CSCO +1.5%) has acquired Collaborate.com, a provider of mobile collaboration apps (task management, document sharing, messaging) backed by cloud-based sharing/syncing services. Terms are undisclosed.
    • Cisco states Collaborate.com's products will complement its WebEx Web conferencing/collaboration platform, as well as its videoconferencing and unified communications offerings.
    • Citrix (CTXS - GoToMeeting, Podio) already competes in the mobile collaboration tool market, as do several others firms. Cisco's collaboration sales, which have been pressured by soft videoconferencing hardware demand, rose only 1% Y/Y in the Oct. quarter.
    • Separately, Cisco is launching a cloud-based PC virtualization service (DaaS) that leverages software from both Citrix and recent VMware (VMW +0.5%) acquisition Desktone, as well as Cisco's UCS servers.
    • The service will compete against Amazon's WorkSpaces PC virtualization solution, whose November launch led Citrix and VMware's shares to sell off.
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  • Dec. 11, 2013, 5:09 AM
    • The European Union's General Court, the bloc's second highest court - has rebuffed a request by Cisco (CSCO) to revisit the EU's approval of Microsoft's $8.5B acquisition of Skype in 2011.
    • Cisco argued that the deal led to a monopoly and that the EU should have demanded concessions from Microsoft.
    • However, the judges disagreed. "The merger does not restrict competition either on the consumer video communications market or on the business video communications market," the judges said.
    • Cisco can now appeal to the EU Court of Justice.
    | 1 Comment
  • Oct. 9, 2013, 6:50 PM
    • Bloomberg reports BlackBerry (BBRY) is "more open to a breakup" as doubts continue to swirl Fairfax Financial will be able to obtain the funding needed for its $9/share bid to succeed.
    • The news service adds SAP, Cisco (CSCO), and Samsung (SSNLF.PK, SSNGY.OB) were "approached last week by BlackBerry advisers," and indicated they’re "only interested in parts of the company." That provides a bit of color to Saturday's Reuters report.
    • Intel (INTC) is said to be open to bidding for BlackBerry's patents, but nothing else.
    • BBRY -1.4% AH
    • Earlier: Canadian pension fund still weighing BlackBerry investment
    | 30 Comments
  • Oct. 5, 2013, 12:25 PM
    • Blackberry (BBRY) is in talks with Cisco Systems (CSCO), Google (GOOG), and SAP (SAP) about selling itself whole or piecemeal according to "several sources," Reuters reports.
    • The strategic buyer route provides an alternative to Fairfax's $9/share bid (~$4.7B), which some speculate has little chance of securing financing. P-E firm Cerberus has also expressed interest in the ailing company.
    • According to sources, potential corporate buyers have been "especially interested in BlackBerry's secure server network and patent portfolio, although doubts about the assets' value remains an issue." Analysts believe Blackberry's security-focused messaging system could be worth $3B-$4.5B, and its patent trove $2B-$3B. However, a company filing disclosed that the value of its patent portfolio and licensing agreements could halve in the next 18 months.
    • TechCrunch speculates that "an enterprise-focused bidder — such as SAP or Cisco — might make the best fit for BlackBerry’s security-focused messaging handset business at this point, with the consumer smartphone marketplace now primarily centred on Android and iOS."
    | 93 Comments
  • 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.
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Company Description
Cisco Systems Inc is engaged in designing, manufacturing and selling of Internet Protocol (IP) based networking products and services related to the communications and information technology (IT) industry.