The latest and M&A deal in the world of technology and communications came to ADC Telecommunications Inc. (NASDAQ: ADCT) this week, where Tyco Electronics, Ltd. (NYSE: TEL) is paying $12.75 per share in cash for a net price of roughly $1.25 billion. After you have seen small and mid-sized deals come from Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) for 3Com and Palm, Oracle Corp. (NASDAQ: ORCL) for Sun and for Phase Forward, deals from Ciena Corp. (NASDAQ: CIEN) for Nortel’s metro ethernet operations, and even the proposed Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q) merger with CenturyTel Inc. (NYSE: CTL), you have to wonder if more and more mergers are coming down the pipe now that the market has stabilized. We wanted to consider some of the routine go-to stocks that keep coming up through time as technology, communications, and telecom merger candidates.
Some names under consideration that have either been rumored to be in deals or which could potentially be in future M&A deals are Brocade Communications Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: BRCD), Cincinnati Bell Inc. (NYSE: CBB), CommVault Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CVLT), Dell Inc. (NASDAQ: DELL), JDS Uniphase Corporation (NASDAQ: JDSU), Leap Wireless International Inc. (NASDAQ: LEAP), MetroPCS Communications Inc. (NYSE: PCS), MEMC Electronic Materials Inc. (NYSE: WFR), Novell Inc. (NASDAQ: NOVL), Premiere Global Services, Inc. (NYSE: PGI), RadioShack Corp. (NYSE: RSH), Tellabs Inc. (NASDAQ: TLAB), Teradata Corporation (NYSE: TDC), OmniVision Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: OVTI), and Synaptics Inc. (NASDAQ: SYNA).
For starters, most of the companies listed as targets here are possible bolt-on mergers rather than super-mergers. Closing a mega-deal by the end of the year that has not been announced is going to be tough, and that likely means that the capital gains and the effects of the old Bush tax rates on capital gains will be either gone or muted in 2011. Businesses today are willing to spend cash for companies that can be easily integrated or that open up new and untapped markets for them. As far as a giant taking on another giant and then having to make divestitures and many layoffs, those deals are far less attractive for companies right now. Then there is the notion of a tougher regulatory approval environment for large mergers that has to be considered.
The list of companies we have provided falls into at least two of three distinct categories. The first category is that the company has been either a target or acquirer and a deal fell through. The second category is that the company has either been rumored to be in a merger or it is a company that is one we have viewed as a shoe-in target for the right acquirer. Lastly, there is the bolt-on deal or at a minimum a tool-box deal to make these easy for a buyer to gobble up.
We have compiled a list of predators and prey here for your review in the technology, telecom, and communications sectors. This list is displayed alphabetically to avoid any ranking issues or any more pointed issues over size and the real chances of a deal coming into play.
One name which used to come up routinely is Brocade Communications Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: BRCD). This was one of our picks for stocks which could still double, and the buyout thesis for a low-cost provider in networking and storage was a part of why we thought the stock could double. The short-term moves are not working in favor of holders, so it would seem no deal is imminent even if shares are at $5.15.
Cincinnati Bell Inc. (NYSE: CBB) is one of the last of the “anything remotely tied to the Bells” stocks, although it has always been its own boss. It is the main telecom player for Cincinnati and its nearby areas located in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky, making this a potential bolt-on acquisition for a larger telecom player. It has almost the same exact operational area as its license back to the end of the 1800’s with a 25 mile radius around Cincinnati. The small $615 million market cap would make this a line-item for a buyer, but it is worth noting that both AT&T and Verizon are going to have a harder and harder time under regulatory review in making acquisitions. With shares at $3.06, the 52-week trading range is $2.50 to $3.74.
CommVault Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CVLT) is on sale due to its disappointing guidance this week. The 21% drop to $18.50 would not likely make any lower-premium buyout more likely to be approved as the 52-week range is $15.60 to $24.51. That recent high is an all-time high though and a Goldman Sachs strategist had this as a potential buyout candidate earlier this year. Its Simpana platform aims to help enterprises manage data growth while cutting costs and adding security via cloud integration, deduplication, recovery, efficiency, virtualization, remote and branch office integration, and more. Valuations are an issue, although the 21% drop leaves a market cap at just about $800 million.