New Cisco CEO hints its latest buying spree has just begun

Cisco Chuck Robbins 5CiscoCisco CEO Chuck Robbins

Cisco has been on an acquisition tear recently, and it doesn’t seem like it will slow down any time soon.

“We’re very acquisitive and we’ll continue to be acquisitive as we go forward, as we continue to build out our portfolio, especially in areas like software and security,” said Cisco CFO Kelly Kramer during its fourth quarter earnings call on Wednesday.

The comment comes on the heels of Cisco spending $US139 million to acquire software company MaintenanceNet last month, which happened just a week after dropping $US635 million to buy another software company called OpenDNS. Cisco has made six acquisitions so far this year.

It’s also worth noting that Cisco was rumoured to be interested in buying the $US8 billion security company FireEye in May, although then-Cisco CEO John Chambers shot down those rumours immediately.

Cisco’s acquisition strategy will prove to be important moving forward as it continues to face increased competition from emerging startups and local suppliers in China. It’s also been realigning its business to focus on growth areas, as it just recently sold off its TV set-top box unit to Technicolor for $US600 million.

But Cisco seems set on growing its overall workforce for now, as it didn’t make any mention of layoffs during the earnings call. The company typically makes big layoff announcements during fourth quarter earnings, as it did in the past four years. On Wednesday, Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins was asked about it at the last moment, but he didn’t comment on it.

In fact, Robbins hinted at keeping its headcount, or even possibly increasing it, in a recent blog post, where he wrote, “We will exit Q4 with our headcount up and, based on our current business assumptions, expect an increase in our headcount as we exit next fiscal year.”

Cisco shares were up over 2% in after hours, after reporting a pretty strong earnings. Its fourth quarter revenue jumped 6% to $US12.8 billion, beating street estimates of $US12.65 billion. For the full year, it saw $US49.2 billion in revenue, up 4% from last year.

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