HP will pay some $2.7 billion for Aruba Networks in a deal the vendor said will add significant heft to its existing wireless networking capabilities and extend its converged campus portfolio.

DH Kass, Senior Contributing Blogger

March 2, 2015

3 Min Read
HP Pays $2.7 Billion for Aruba Networks in Blockbuster Wireless Networking Deal

Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) confirmed it will pay some $2.7 billion for Aruba Networks in a deal the vendor said will add significant heft to its existing wireless networking capabilities and extend its converged campus portfolio.

While word first surfaced late last week of a possible deal between the two companies, the official announcement was timed to the kickoff of Aruba’s Atmosphere partner conference in Las Vegas. With that in mind, going forward it will be interesting to see how the channel strategies of Aruba’s Karl Soderlund and Jim Harold match up with HP channel boss Sue Barsamian.

Under terms of the transaction, HP will pay Aruba shareholders $24.67 per share in cash. The equity value of the deal is about $3.0 billion, and net of cash and debt, approximately $2.7 billion. The boards of directors of both companies have approved the deal, which is expected to close this summer, subject to customary closing conditions. HP said it expects the acquisition to be accretive to earnings in the first full year following the deal’s closing.

The deal creates what amounts to a networking powerhouse, combining product portfolios and go-to-market approaches in what both companies believe will result in accelerated revenue growth and a far stronger HP Networking business.

Aruba, which maintains some 1,800 employees and generated $729 million in sales for fiscal 2014, will continue to operate as an independent company until the transaction is finalized, officials said.

HP will fold Aruba into its Enterprise Group’s networking business as an HP subsidiary, with Dominic Orr, Aruba’s chief executive, and Keerti Melkote, Aruba chief strategy and technology officer, heading the newly combined organization and reporting to Antonio Neri, HP Enterprise Group leader.

In an email statement sent to The VAR Guy, Orr said the deal will benefit Aruba’s customers in four ways:

  • An accelerated pace of innovation from the combined R&D engineering, budgets and resources.

  • A broader portfolio of networking products in the future.

  • More flexibility and choice from the combined companies’ vision of open system networking.

  • Extended global reach from leveraging HP’s global resources enabling Aruba to tap the SME market.

“We have always taken great pride in our company’s ‘Customer First, Customer Last’ culture, and both Keerti and I will be dedicated to continuing and expanding all of the business and technology principles that have made Aruba an agile, highly responsive company for the past 13 years,” Orr said.

Given HP’s 5 percent overall sales downturn in Q1 2015, along with an 11 percent slide in networking revenue, questions remain as to whether the Aruba acquisition will contribute significantly to HP’s revenue line going forward.

For example, Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White said that while the deal fits well with HP’s existing networking portfolio, the vendor might have better spent its capital on cloud and Big Data providers instead.

In a research note, White wrote, “Although we believe this deal expands HP’s networking portfolio, we believe HP’s capital (especially at an enterprise value to 2014 revenue of 3.7x) would be better spent on cloud and Big Data software-related vendors.”

According to researcher IDC, Cisco (CSCO) commands the wireless networking market with a 48 percent share, followed by Aruba at 11.5 percent, Ruckus at 6.3 percent and HP at 5.8 percent.

Read more about:


About the Author(s)

DH Kass

Senior Contributing Blogger, The VAR Guy

Free Newsletters for the Channel
Register for Your Free Newsletter Now

You May Also Like