Shares of F5 stock are up more than 12 percent today after the news. However, it’s possible none of the potential takeover prospects will materialize into a real deal.
Analysts have recently expressed concern about F5’s lower sales outlook and its ability to thrive in the public cloud sector.
Goldman Sachs analyst Simona Jankowski wrote in a research note yesterday: “From a strategic perspective, our view has been that the application delivery controller (ADC) hardware product that is core to F5 is in secular decline due to the shift to cloud.”
But Jankowski acknowledges that suitors could be intrigued by F5’s high-growth software business – mainly security and virtual ADC – which drives a third of product revenues or about 15 percent of total revenues.
Possible F5 Suitors
“We are eliminating Dell as they are focused on the EMC merger. We don’t believe Cisco Systems is likely to have a strong interest because the overlap with their security segment. Plus, Cisco’s recent acquisitions have been focused on cloud/SaaS models. Juniper Networks has gone back to focusing on their core strengths.”
Raymond James analyst Simon Leopold considers Cisco, Ericsson, and HPE as potential suitors. “Other prospects could include financial buyers and private equity investment firms,” he writes in a research note today.
F5 CEO Troubles
F5 has undergone some corporate turmoil the past six months. In December its CEO of less than one year, Manny Rivelo, resigned “for matters regarding personal conduct.”
F5’s former CEO John McAdam has returned from retirement to fill the president and CEO roles.