And now people are saying that Cisco is trying to buy $2 billion startup Nutanix

Cisco CEO John ChambersCiscoCisco CEO John Chambers

There’s rumbling in the tech world that Cisco is making a bid to buy hot data center startup Nutanix.

The speculation of Cisco’s interest began on Friday when analyst Jared Rinderer published a blog post that indicated such talks were taking place, and could be announced in June.

Rinderer, a senior research analyst for Equity Capital Research Group, didn’t indicate the source of such information.

We’ve reached out to our sources, but could not confirm that any such deal was taking place. We understand that Nutanix CEO Dheeraj Pandey internally told Nutanix employees that it was just a rumour and they should ignore it.

And this would be a really expensive purchase for Cisco, right when it’s bringing in a new CEO.

Nutanix raised a whopping $US140 million round last summer ($US312 million total) on a just over $US2 billion valuation.

Cisco would probably need to offer a huge premium over the company’s valuation. Nutanix has been gearing up for an IPO and its co-founder CEO dreams of being a huge independent company, the next EMC.

“We have so much more to do and we will take these big giant behemoths head on,” Dheeraj Pandey recently told Business Insider.

Dheeraj Pandey NutanixLinkedIn/Dheeraj PandeyDheeraj Pandey, co-founder and CEO Nutanix

But if Cisco could pull this deal off, it would be brilliant. Nutanix could help Cisco with its ugly post-divorce war with EMC and its subsidiary VMware.

Cisco and VMware/EMC used to be close partners, but they are increasingly in competition with each other.

EMC even bought out most of Cisco’s stake in a joint company they had, VCE. Now, word is, VCE is dragging its feet to sell Cisco’s products, favouring VMware’s competitors instead.

Meanwhile, Nutanix is duking it out with EMC/VMware, and doing well — recently it joined other companies in a complaint that caused VMware to lose a $US1.6 billion government contract.

So buying Nutanix would be a major coup for Cisco, and Cisco has enough cash to turn Nutanix’ investors heads, , with $US3.2 billion in the U.S., and $US50-ish billion overseas.

Then again, this latest acquisition rumour comes days after Chambers squashed the previous rumour last week that it was in talks to buy security company FireEye.

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