While the Reuters report didn't name any potential suitors for F5, likely bidders could include Cisco, Dell, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Oracle, longtime F5 follower Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research, told the Seattle Times.
It's been a rough ride for F5 in the past 12 months following the sudden exit of CEO Manny Rivelo after only seven months on the job and the return of the vendor's former longtime boss John McAdam to the company's helm.
Meanwhile, in March, F5 hired two new channel executives, Peter Brant as SVP of North America sales and David Helfer as VP of worldwide channels.
In its FQ2 ended 31 March, F5 posted mixed results with below expectations sales of $484 million and above forecasts net income of $75.4 million. Its stock price spiked 12 percent on the acquisition rumors to $123.94 a share, pushing the company's valuation to $8.3 billion.
The vendor competes with Citrix and A10 Networks in its application delivery business, and Check Point, Cisco and Palo Alto Networks in its perimeter security business.
One F5 partner we spoke to, who wished to remain anonymous, said they could "absolutely see the value" in Cisco buying F5 because the duo already integrate closely and it would fill a gap in Cisco's portfolio.
"This is less good news for F5 partners as Cisco doesn't have a track record of providing special treatment to historic partners of acquisitions. Sourcefire is a good case in point here," the partner added.
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