A breakdown of Cisco Systems’ acquisition history as the company approaches No. 200

Cisco Systems HQ
Entrance to Cisco System's headquarters in San Jose.
Sometime this year (very likely this year at least), computer networking powerhouse Cisco Systems will make its 200th acquisition. By our count on Mergr — Cisco has made 193 acquisitions thus far — including 4 in 2016.

That’s a lot of acquisitions and when you consider the company didn’t acquire its first until 7 years after its founding, Cisco has been a consistent M&A machine ever since, acquiring an average of 8 to 9 companies a year.

To put 200 into context, only several tech companies have more then 100. Google is right behind Cisco  — followed by IBM, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Oracle.

Cisco is somewhat unusual amongst acquirers in that it maintains a page listing every acquisition. Analyzing this list within Mergr, here are some stats and figures based on Cisco’s acquisition history thus far.

Total #

193 (as of April 20, 2016)

Total Spend (aggregate of disclosed deal values)

$66B

Most Active Year

2000 (20)

# of Countries w/ an Acquisition

14

Most Active Country

United States (164)

Most Active US States

California (99)

Massachusetts (15)

Texas (10)

Most Active (non-US) Countries

UK (7)

Israel (6)

Denmark (3)

Largest

Cerent Corp. ($6.9B in 1999)

Scientific-Atlanta LLC ($6.9B in 2005)

Largest (non-US)

NDS Group Ltd. ($5B in 2012, UK)

Tandberg ASA($3.3B in 2010, Norway)

Qeyton Systems AB ($800M in 2000, Sweden)

# Valued > $1B

11

Jasper Technologies HQ
Jasper was Cisco’s most recent $1B+ acquisition – acquired for $1.4B in early 2016.

# Valued Between $100M and $1B

68

# Valued < $100M

45

Most notable and quickest mistake?

Pure Digital (makers of Flip Video). Pure was acquired in 2009 for $590M andshut down less then 24 months later.

What about the sell-side? Does Cisco ever divest?

Rarely.

Cisco sold Linksys to Belkin in 2013 and an equipment business to Technicolor last year. To date, Cisco has divested just once to a PE firm – selling Fibercore to HIG Capital in 2011 (an asset acquired through Scientific Atlanta in 2009).

So when will No. 200 happen?

Unless the bubble truly bursts year 2000 style — when Cisco’s acquisition appetite dropped from 20 in 2000 to 4 in 2001, sometime late 2016 or early 2017 seems most likely.


Curious about the M&A activity of other tech companies – check out all the PE, M&A, and data we have on Mergr with a free trial today.