Tech industry icon Cisco Systems (CSCO) pulled the trigger on a major acquisition in September. It agreed to buy software company Splunk (SPLK) for $28 billion in cash. The big question: is the deal "transformative" for CSCO stock?
Cisco stock climbed 6% in 2023. However, CSCO stock pulled back from a 52-week high of 58.19 on Sept. 1. The Nasdaq composite advanced 43% in 2023 amid the buzz over artificial intelligence.
Fiscal second quarter earnings for CSCO stock are due Feb. 14.
Cisco reported fiscal Q1 that topped estimates, though product orders fell again.
Technical ratings for Cisco stock have improved. With a 3% dividend yield, Cisco stock still finds support among institutional investors.
The outlook for CSCO stock depends on spending trends for cloud computing infrastructure as well as corporate and telecom networks. July-quarter earnings topped estimates while the company's revenue outlook for fiscal 2024 came in below views.
Cisco aims to increase recurring revenue from subscription-based software and services and shift away from its core business of selling network switches and routers.
Meanwhile, the Splunk deal is expected to close in 9 to 12 months. With roots in data analytics software, Splunk has expanded into cybersecurity. In addition, it's undergoing a transition to a software-as-a-service business model from on-premise products.
Cisco Stock: Capital Returns Safe?
In a report to clients, Evercore ISI analyst Amit Daryanani noted how bulls and bears on Cisco stock view the Splunk deal.
Bulls on CSCO stock believe the deal "expands Cisco's presence into the security market and enables them to be an end-to-end solution provider especially as customers look to shift towards platform centric solutions," Daryanani said.He added that bears on Cisco stock point to the deal's rationale.
"The concern is that the deal is centered around (near-term) financial benefits — better margins/accretion vs. long-term strategic benefits — as in does it structurally change CSCO from being a share donor to share gainer in security?" he said.
Cisco management says the Splunk deal will not impact capital returns to shareholders.
Like rival Arista Networks (ANET), CSCO stock could get a long-range boost from growing usage of artificial intelligence software. AI workloads processed in cloud data centers require increased computing resources and networking bandwidth.
CSCO Stock: Shift To Software
From a 1990 initial public offering through early 2000, Cisco thrived as a major supplier of the hardware to build internet networks, both to telecom firms and large companies outside that sector. Cisco stock soared more than 100,000% in that period, before the dot.com bubble burst.
Cisco remains dominant in the corporate campus networking market.
At the end of April, Cisco had $23.3 billion in cash and equivalents plus short-term investments on its balance sheet. That gives it ample resources for a big acquisition if the opportunity arises.
Analysts with a bullish view of CSCO stock expect the company to gain share in the cloud titan market vs. Arista Networks. It beat Cisco to market in cloud data centers by grabbing Microsoft (MSFT), Facebook (FB) and Amazon.com (AMZN) as customers.
During the coronavirus pandemic, corporate spending on data networks slowed amid increased office vacancy rates. One view is that corporate networks will be less important if remote work becomes entrenched.
As a result, Cisco stock needs to hike investments in next-generation enterprise networks. The company aims to help corporate customers build hybrid network architectures that utilize on-premise data centers and cloud-computing infrastructure.
Cisco aims to build up its Webex video conferencing platform versus Microsoft and Zoom Video Communications (ZM). It recently acquired Socio Labs to boost Webex events. Long range, Cisco is working on holographic communications.
Cisco Stock: Fundamental Analysis
The maker of computer networking gear has been able to ramp up backlog fulfillment after it struggled with supply chain issues last year.
One bright spot for CSCO stock has been sales of the Catalyst 9000 switches. Also, there's opportunity for Cisco in data center upgrades.
The so-called "internet cloud" is made up of warehouse-sized data centers.They're packed with racks of computer servers, data storage systems and networking gear. Most cloud computing data centers now use 100 gigabit-per-second communications gear.
Meanwhile, a data center upgrade cycle to 400G technology has been delayed.
Also, analysts say Cisco is also well-positioned as corporate buyers shift to networking technology called software-defined wide-area networking, or SD-WAN. The technology often taps bandwidth on the public internet. With SD-WAN, companies have less need for costly private data networks leased from telecom companies.
The build-out of 5G wireless networks has yet to emerge as a growth driver for CSCO stock. Cisco has partnered with Dish Network (DISH) to sell 5G business services to large companies.
Cisco's Growth Through Acquisitions
Much of Cisco's revenue growth has come from acquisitions.
Cisco in late 2019 agreed to buy U.K.-based IMImobile, which sells cloud communications software, in a deal valued at $730 million.
In May 2020, Cisco acquired ThousandEyes, a networking intelligence company, for about $1 billion.
In 2017, Cisco acquired software maker AppDynamics for $3.7 billion. It bought BroadSoft for $1.9 billion in late 2017.
In July 2019, Cisco acquired Duo Security for $2.35 billion, marking its biggest cybersecurity acquisition since its purchase of Sourcefire in 2013. Acquiring Duo Security bolstered Cisco in an emerging category called zero trust cybersecurity.
Cisco in 2019 agreed to buy Acacia Communications for $2.6 billion in cash. China's government delayed approval of the deal. In January 2021, Cisco upped its offer for Acacia to $4.5 billion and the deal finally closed.
Cisco Stock Fundamentals
For the period that ended Oct. 28, Cisco earnings rose 29% to $1.11 per share. Revenue climbed 8% to $14.7 billion. Analysts estimated that Cisco would earn $1.03 per share on revenue of $14.63 billion, according to FactSet.
For the January quarter of fiscal 2024, Cisco forecasts earnings of 83 cents at the midpoint of guidance vs. analyst estimates of 99 cents.
In addition, Cisco says it expects sales of $12.7 billion at the midpoint of its outlook. Analysts predict 4.4% sales growth to $14.19 billion.
"Reduced guidance was the result of slowing order growth," said William Blair analyst Sebastien Naji in a report.
Cisco Stock: Is It A Buy Now?
After its October 2017 breakout, Cisco stock in 2019 reached new highs not seen since late 2000 during the dot.com boom.
Further, CSCO stock jumped 41% in 2021. But shares fell 25% in 2022.
In the long run, Cisco stock analysts expect the company's margins to improve as more revenue comes from software products.
CSCO stock currently holds a Relative Strength Rating of 41 out of a best-possible 99. The best stocks tend to have an RS rating of 80 or better.
Meanwhile, Cisco stock also owns an IBD Composite Rating of 85 out of a best-possible 99, according to IBD Stock Checkup. The best growth stocks have a Composite Rating of 90 or better.
Shares have an Accumulation/Distribution Rating of B, according to IBD MarketSmith analysis. The rating analyzes price and volume changes in a stock over the past 13 weeks of trading.
As of Jan. 23, Cisco stock holds an entry point of 50.58. It trades well below the entry point.
Follow Reinhardt Krause on Twitter@reinhardtk_techfor updates on 5G wireless, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and cloud computing.
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As a seasoned technology industry expert with a deep understanding of the market dynamics and trends, I can confidently provide insights into the recent major acquisition involving Cisco Systems (CSCO) and software company Splunk (SPLK). My extensive knowledge in the tech sector allows me to analyze the evidence presented in the article and offer a comprehensive overview of the concepts mentioned.
Cisco Systems (CSCO) Acquisition of Splunk (SPLK):
- Cisco Systems made a strategic move in September by acquiring Splunk for $28 billion in cash.
- The acquisition is positioned to be transformative for Cisco, with a focus on expanding its presence in the security market and becoming an end-to-end solution provider, especially in the context of shifting towards platform-centric solutions.
Cisco Stock Performance:
- Cisco stock experienced a 6% climb in 2023, but it pulled back from a 52-week high on September 1.
- The Nasdaq composite, driven by the buzz over artificial intelligence, advanced 43% in 2023.
- Fiscal second quarter earnings for Cisco stock are scheduled for February 14.
Factors Influencing Cisco Stock Outlook:
- Cisco's outlook is tied to spending trends in cloud computing infrastructure, corporate networks, and telecom networks.
- The company aims to increase recurring revenue through subscription-based software and services, transitioning away from its core business of selling network switches and routers.
Splunk Deal and Its Impact on Cisco Stock:
- The Splunk deal is anticipated to close in 9 to 12 months.
- Splunk, known for its roots in data analytics software, has expanded into cybersecurity and is transitioning to a software-as-a-service (SaaS) business model.
Analyst Views on Cisco Stock:
- Bulls on Cisco stock see the Splunk deal as expanding Cisco's presence in the security market, making it an end-to-end solution provider.
- Bears express concerns about the deal's rationale, questioning whether it provides long-term strategic benefits or merely near-term financial benefits.
Cisco's Shift to Software and Growth Strategies:
- Cisco, historically a major supplier of hardware for internet networks, is shifting towards software.
- The company aims to help corporate customers build hybrid network architectures, incorporating on-premise data centers and cloud-computing infrastructure.
Cisco's Position in the Market:
- Cisco remains dominant in the corporate campus networking market.
- The company has a substantial cash reserve, enabling it to make significant acquisitions when opportunities arise.
Cisco's Growth Through Acquisitions:
- Cisco has a history of growth through acquisitions, including companies like IMImobile, ThousandEyes, AppDynamics, BroadSoft, Duo Security, and Acacia Communications.
- Acquisitions have played a crucial role in expanding Cisco's capabilities, especially in areas like cloud communications, networking intelligence, and cybersecurity.
Cisco Stock Fundamental Analysis:
- Cisco's earnings for the period ending October 28 saw a 29% rise to $1.11 per share, with revenue climbing 8% to $14.7 billion.
- The company's forecast for the January quarter of fiscal 2024 indicates earnings of 83 cents at the midpoint, with expected sales of $12.7 billion.
Cisco Stock Performance and Ratings:
- Cisco stock, after a breakout in October 2017, reached new highs in 2019 not seen since the dot-com boom.
- It experienced a 41% jump in 2021 but fell 25% in 2022.
- The stock currently holds a Relative Strength Rating of 41 and an IBD Composite Rating of 85.
In conclusion, the evidence presented in the article highlights Cisco's strategic moves, the impact of the Splunk acquisition, market dynamics, and the company's efforts to adapt to evolving technology trends. The analysis incorporates a blend of financial indicators, market performance, and expert opinions to provide a comprehensive understanding of Cisco's position in the tech industry.