HP reportedly mulling purchase of Aruba Networks

Well, it’s been a while since Hewlett-Packard made a really big acquisition but it sounds like the IT giant is shaking off the post-Autonomy jitters: it’s weighing a purchase of Aruba Networks, according to Bloomberg.

[company]Aruba Networks[/company], Sunnyvale, Calif.,  provides Wi-Fi access gear at big indoor and outdoor venues — malls, hotels, university campuses,  conference centers etc.

The move would give [company]HP[/company], which already offers its own “converged campus networking” gear, a bigger footprint in wireless mobile, a hot market, that could grow even hotter as more businesses and consumers use Wi-Fi to take some of the pressure off overloaded cellular networks. This acquisition would be reminiscent of Cisco’s purchase of Meraki a little over two years ago for $1.2 billion.

Aruba is one of the leaders in enterprise Wi-Fi so an HP purchase would give it more ammo to go after rival [company]Cisco[/company] in the WLAN market, according to Gigaom’s Kevin Fitchard.

Aruba Networks has a market cap of about $2.42 billion and trailing-twelve month revenue of $745 million. HP had no comment on the report; Aruba Networks has not yet responded to a request for comment.

Aruba shares rose on the report — they were up 22 percent at one point Wednesday while HP shares fell about 10 percent. Since HP’s controversial $11 billion buy of Autonomy in 2011, CEO Meg Whitman has said the company will look at smaller, more targeted acquisition targets; she also noted on this week’s first quarter earnings call that HP was looking to grow its networking business..

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