HP is breaking its moratorium on acquisitions. Super-secret-squirrel rumor-mongers say HP is buying Aruba Networks, a leading Wi-Fi infrastructure outfit.
CEO Meg Whitman promised recently that the venerable Palo Alto company will start making targeted buys. So this would be one of those, then.
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Alex Sherman and Ed Hammond tag-tag with wild whispers from "people with knowledge of the matter":
Hewlett-Packard Co. is in talks to acquire Aruba...a maker of wireless-network infrastructure used by hotels, universities and shopping malls.
This would be the largest acquisition in several years for [HP], where...Whitman has been focused on cutting costs and returning the business to growth.
[HP and Aruba] declined to comment. MORE
It's been a while since we've heard about an HP acquisition, as Richard Chirgwin notes:
HP looks like breaking its long embargo on large acquisitions.
[Aruba's] recent wins include Wanda Group malls and California State University. [Its] market value is around [$2.5 billion]. MORE
But Jon Gold channels critical customer reax:
CEO Meg Whitman said earlier this week that the company is in a position to make acquisitions. ... That led to HP stock taking a downturn, while shares of Aruba have spiked...21% as of this writing.
A buyout might not be welcome news to networking professionals. Lee Badman, a network administrator at Syracuse University, said that Aruba is “a class act,” and...“I think the HP name kinda tarnishes the Aruba brand [which is] associated with innovation, quality, and good stewardship of all of their product lines. [But] HP keeps trying to re-invent itself and hasn’t been impressive in the WLAN space.” MORE
Yes, but why? Tiernan Ray guns the numbers: [You're fired -Ed.]
The logic of the deal would be as a challenge to Cisco Systems' dominant position in wireless networking equipment. ... Dell’Oro Group [says] HP and Aruba had ~5% and ~13% [of the] Enterprise WLAN [market] in 3Q14, with Cisco...at ~52%.
The wireless LAN market is a healthy one, with another big driver of gear sales coming: 802.11ac. MORE
Meanwhile, Barb Darrow charts some history, referring to the disastrous and controversial pachyderm dans la chambre:
It sounds like [HP] is shaking off the post-Autonomy jitters. ... Since HP’s...$11 billion buy of Autonomy...Whitman has said the company will look at smaller, more targeted acquisitions.
The move would give HP, which already offers its own “converged campus networking” gear, a bigger footprint in wireless mobile. [It's] reminiscent of Cisco’s purchase of Meraki. MORE
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