Cisco makes largest ever acquisition, buying cybersecurity company Splunk for $28 billion in cash

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Splunk logo displayed on a phone screen and a laptop keyboard are seen in this illustration photo taken in Krakow, Poland on October 30, 2021. (Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Jakub Porzycki | Nurphoto | Getty Images

Cisco is acquiring cybersecurity software company Splunk for $157 a share in a cash deal worth about $28 billion, the company said Thursday.

The acquisition is one of Cisco’s largest, and continues an acquisition streak which has built out the company’s cybersecurity offerings.

Splunk shares rose 20% in premarket trading, while Cisco shares slipped 5%.

“From threat detection and response to threat prediction and prevention, we will help make organizations of all sizes more secure and resilient,” Cisco chair and CEO Chuck Robbins said in a statement. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of 2024.

Cisco expects the deal to be cash flow positive and gross margin accretive in the first year following the closing of the acquisition; it will be accretive to Cisco’s non-GAAP earnings per share by the second year.

The company will finance the deal with a combination of cash and debt, Robbins said. “Together, we will become one of the largest software companies globally,” he said in a conference call with analysts.

Splunk is a cybersecurity company that helps enterprises monitor and analyze their data to minimize the risk of hacks and resolve technical issues faster. Cisco makes and sells telecommunications and networking equipment, as well as a complementary suite of of software.

Splunk CEO Gary Steele had been with the company for a little more than a year. Prior to Splunk, Steele was CEO at Proofpoint, a cybersecurity firm.

If Cisco backs out of the deal or is forced to do so because of regulatory intervention, it will pay Splunk a termination fee of $1.48 billion, according to a regulatory filing. If Splunk backs out of the deal for any reason, it will pay a $1 billion breakup fee to Cisco.

In 2023 alone, Cisco has acquired four companies: Armorblox, a threat detection platform, Oort, which does identity management, and Valtix and Lightspin, both cloud security companies.

Tidal Partners, Simpson Thacher, and Cravath, Swaine & Moore advised Cisco. Qatalyst Partners, Morgan Stanley, and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom advised Splunk.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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