Deal Mania Commences: Who's in Play?

The Sun-IBM deal talks have sparked a flurry of speculations about alternate deals and partners, including names like Juniper (JNPR), Brocade (BRCD), EMC (EMC), VMware (VMW), Rackable (RACK) and Terremark (TMRK).

The Sun-IBM deal talks have sparked a flurry of speculation about alternate deals and partners. The Battle for the Data Center ( I feel like we should use Caps now) is clearly underway. It's like a chess game, with many pieces in motion. Here's a couple of alternate scenarios, as well as a look at companies that are gaining a higher profile amid the deal chatter.

  • Om Malik thinks that Cisco, not IBM, should be buying Sun. "I firmly believe Sun is a great engineering resource," Om writes. "The problem would be running the place, as anyone who bought it would be taking on a serious management challenge. ... But no one is better equipped to buy and manage Sun than Cisco Systems."
  • EE Times says IBM is the one that should be thinking about other targets, suggesting Juniper or Brocade (BRCD) as acquisitions that would add a networking component to battle Cisco. "In this new scenario, IBM does not need to buy more computer customers as much as it needs to attract interest in bigger, broader offerings that unite server blades with networking switches and storage into bigger more streamlined offerings. ... Rather than buy Sun, IBM should let it twist in the wind."

Both Juniper and Brocade were mentioned in a story about tech mergers at TheStreet.com, along with EMC, which has been rumored as a dance partner for Cisco. Rackable (RACK) is another name that often comes up in deal speculation, usually as a target for Dell or Cisco.

Who else might be viewed as being in play? The company that may be getting the biggest stock boost from the deal talk appears to be Terremark Worldwide (TMRK), whose shares are up 16 percent today. Why Terremark? It may not seem an obvious fit in the strategic arms race pitting IBM vs. Cisco vs. HP vs. Dell. But Terremark is well positioned in cloud computing (The Enterprise Cloud) and government data center outsourcing (The NAP of the Capital Region), two areas that are likely to be hot in coming years. Terremark considered a sale last year when a suitor emerged, but the deal talks fell apart when the credit crunch worsened. Also, Terremark's share price has been hit hard in recent months, briefly dipping below $2 last week before rebounding in recent days. TMRK is at $2.95 a share in late trading today.

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