Cisco targeting Citrix as takeover candidate?

, Bloomberg

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Fort Lauderdale-based Citrix Systems Inc. is among a list of potential takeover candidates by Cisco Systems Inc.

Cisco, with its stock price down 42 percent since November 2007, has gone too long without a “major” acquisition and failed to invest enough in companies it purchased, CEO John Chambers said Dec. 7.

In addition to Citrix, Cisco is said to be eyeing NetApp Inc. and Rackspace Hosting.

As the network-equipment industry matures, Chambers is contending with two straight years of sales rising less than 8 percent and analysts estimating three more years below that level. Citrix and its technology for delivering services over the Internet may appeal to Cisco, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans said. Data-storage company NetApp is another candidate, according to Thrivent, while JMP Securities LLC says Rackspace’s website-hosting business may prove alluring.

Cisco and Citrix already have a relationship and announced a “significant expansion” of that partnership in October.

“There’s a lot of things that Citrix is participating in that Cisco has talked about,” said Thrivent Financial’s Peter Karazeris. “Citrix is a software company, it fills that hole. Software tends to be higher margin. That’s accretive to Cisco’s gross margin.”

Citrix will increase revenue between 13 percent and 16 percent each year in 2012 through 2016, according to analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Laura Heisman, a spokeswoman for Citrix, didn’t return a message seeking comment on Cisco.

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