Is Cisco eyeing up FireEye?

Media undecided as acquisition rumours continue to swirl

Cisco is rumoured to be edging closer to making an acquisition bid for security specialist FireEye, despite conflicting media reports.

According to Okdiario - a Spanish digital news outlet - the technology giant is “closer than ever” to sealing a deal following a long period of negotiation, with the purchase potentially set to close in the “coming weeks”.

Citing industry sources, Okdiario reported via Google Translate: “the conversations are very advanced and will materialise in an offer that will be presented in the coming weeks.”

Unsurprisingly, FireEye’s stock jumped five per cent amid such industry chatter, with Cisco also alleged to have engaged Goldman Sachs to help facilitate a deal.

As reported by Business Insider in October 2019, FireEye reportedly hired Goldman Sachs to advise the publicly-listed vendor on a potential sale, with private equity firms cited as the most likely buyer at the time.

Fast forward four months and the market remains split on whether a deal between Cisco and FireEye will materialise, with Barron’s - an American weekly news outlet published by Dow Jones & Company - quick to pour scorn on any agreement.

“Zero truth, don’t chase this one,” alleged the website, citing a “person close to Cisco”.

A more detailed put down of the deal was offered by ChannelE2E however, with Joe Panettieri reporting: “FireEye’s business model, revenue mix and growth rate don’t fit the typical Cisco M&A target profile.”

The speculation comes days after Cisco cancelled its flagship Cisco Live conference in Melbourne due to "ongoing concerns" about the coronavirus outbreak.

Set for 3-6 March, the vendor’s annual event in Asia Pacific plays host to around 8500 attendees from across the region, spanning channel partners, customers, distributors and alliance vendors.

“Our customers, partners and employees are our top priority and we strongly believe this is the right decision given the current circumstances,” a Cisco statement read. “Our thoughts are with those directly impacted by this situation.”

The conference - which was due to be held at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre (MCEC) - had a sponsorship line-up which included Optus, Telstra, OutcomeX and NTT, in addition to Cohesity, Hitachi and IBM.