The 10 Biggest Networking Company Acquisitions Of 2020 (So Far)

A few tech giants including Nvidia, Cisco and F5 Networks kicked off 2020 with billion-dollar deals, while some vendors focused on strategically building out their portfolios. Here are 10 of the top networking company acquisitions that we’ve seen so far in 2020.


A Time To Buy

Even in the face of a global pandemic that has resulted in an economic downturn, the networking market isn't a space that sits still for too long. Several of the world's largest networking vendors pounced on specialty firms and even niche companies made some purchases in the first half of the year.

Networking heavyweight Cisco Systems made a few moves this year, including buying networking monitoring company ThousandEyes and wireless Internet of Things specialist Fluidmesh Networks. Arista Networks made good on industry rumors and scooped up Big Switch Networks for its software-defined networking chops, and chipmaker Nvidia dropped big bucks and brought Mellanox and Cumulus Networks into the fold for networking hardware and software. At the same time, cloud security has been having a moment as IBM, F5 Networks and Rapid7 made moves to further protect their customers’ environments.

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From the biggest billion-dollar deals to the smaller, more strategic purchases, here are 10 of the top networking company acquisitions of 2020 so far.

10. Samsung Scoops Up TeleWorld Solutions

Samsung in January entered into an agreement to acquire network services provider TeleWorld Solutions to boost its 5G, 4G LTE and networking innovation in the U.S. market, according to Seoul, South Korea-based Samsung.

Chantilly, Va.-based TeleWorld Solutions specializes in network design, testing and optimization services, and mobile services. The deal is helping Samsung's cable operator customers deliver next-generation network services, Samsung said.

Samsung did not disclose financial terms of the deal, which will make TeleWorld Solutions a wholly owned subsidiary of Samsung, the companies said.

9. IBM Buys Cloud Security Startup Spanugo

IBM in June agreed to buy early stage cybersecurity vendor Spanugo to boost the compliance and protection needs of customers in highly-regulated industries, Big Blue said of the deal.

Specifically, Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM said the acquisition of Spanugo will allow customers to define compliance profiles, manage controls and, in continuous real time, monitor compliance across their organization. These capabilities will be contained within a security control center, which IBM said will be available to customers sooner thanks to the assets it will gain from Santa Clara, Calif.-based Spanugo. The two companies did not disclose financial terms of the deal.

8. Microsoft Snags Affirmed Networks

A month before its Metaswitch Networks deal (see next slide), Microsoft in March agreed to acquire Acton, Mass.-based 5G specialist Affirmed Networks.

Founded in 2010, Affirmed Networks is known for cloud-native, network functions virtualization offerings and counts telecoms like AT&T as a customer. Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft said that the deal would help it provide wireless network virtualization software that enables telecom operators deploying 5G networks.

Similar to its Metaswitch deal, Microsoft scooped up Affirmed Networks for an undisclosed sum.

7. Microsoft Nabs Metaswitch Networks

Tech giant Microsoft in May said it would acquire Metaswitch Networks, a leading provider of virtualized network software and voice, data and communications offerings for operators based in the U.K., to help build out its Azure cloud platform for future telecom-related use cases.

Microsoft said that Metaswitch’s complementary portfolio of ultra-high-performance, cloud-native communications software will help expand its offerings available for the telecommunications industry.

The two companies did not disclose financial terms of the deal.

6. Arista Networks Officially Acquires Big Switch Networks

On the heels of January reports, data center and large campus networking specialist Arista Networks said in February that it had officially acquired Big Switch Networks.

Software-defined networking specialist Big Switch Networks is known for its Big Cloud Fabric, its next-generation data center switching fabric that offers network automation and visibility for software-defined data centers and cloud-native applications, as well as its Big Monitoring Fabric, which provides hybrid cloud visibility and security. Santa Clara, Calif.-based Arista said that the acquisition of Big Switch Networks will strengthen the company’s network monitoring and observability suite it offers through its software platform CloudVision and DANZ, or Data ANalyZer, capabilities.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

5. Cisco Scoops Up Wireless IoT Specialist Fluidmesh Networks

Cisco kicked off the spring by revealing plans to acquire privately held Fluidmesh Networks, a maker of wireless backhaul systems.

Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Fluidmesh Networks manufactures hardware and software of wireless point-to-point networks and wireless mesh networks. Together, the two companies said they will build on Cisco's industrial IoT strategy with the addition of Fluidmesh's wireless technology that can reach critical, on-the-move IoT applications.

The two companies did not share the financial terms of the deal.

4. Rapid7 Acquires Cloud Security Upstart For $145 million

Cybersecurity firm Rapid7 said in April that it would buy cloud security posture management startup DivvyCloud for $145 million in cash and stock to help businesses bring together their security and DevOps teams.

Boston-based Rapid7 said Arlington, Va.-based DivvyCloud can help customers protect cloud and container environments from misconfigurations, policy violations, external and internal threats, and identity and access management challenges. DivvyCloud has 70 employees and 54 customers, according to the company.

The deal marks the third purchase Rapid7 has made over the past 18 months.

3. Cisco To Acquire ThousandEyes

Confirming earlier reports, Cisco Systems in May revealed its intent to acquire network monitoring company ThousandEyes.

San Francisco-based ThousandEyes specializes in software that provides actionable intelligence to help enterprises improve their digital experience, especially as applications and workloads move off-premises and into cloud environments, the companies said. The deal will complement Cisco's application performance and monitoring business, AppDynamics, especially as San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco continues to focus on software and services.

While the two companies did not disclose financial terms of the deal, Bloomberg reported that the price tag was nearly $1 billion.

2. F5 Networks Completes Shape Security Purchase

Application delivery specialist F5 Networks first unveiled its intent to acquire rising application security star Shape Security to protect customers from automated attacks, botnets and targeted fraud in late 2019. In January, it completed the acquisition.

F5 paid approximately $1 billion for Santa Clara, Calif.-based Shape Security.

Combined, F5 and Shape have created an end-to-end application security offering that can reduce infrastructure complexity and protect customers from online fraud, reputational damage, and disruptions to critical online services, according to Seattle-based F5 Networks.

1. Nvidia Spends Billions On Mellanox, Cumulus Networks

Chipmaker Nvidia spent April and May sealing two different deals. The company bought cloud-network switch and adapter vendor Mellanox Technologies in a $6.9 billion deal in April and then nabbed Cumulus Networks for an undisclosed amount in May.

Mellanox specializes in networking hardware and software for large cloud and enterprise data centers, while Cumulus specializes in a Linux-based network operating system for large data center, cloud and enterprise networking environments.

Nvidia said Mellanox will allow customers to achieve higher performance and greater utilization of computing resources and lower operating costs. Cumulus, on the other hand, will allow Nvidia to innovate and optimize across the entire networking stack from chips and system to software.