19 de January de 2018

Cisco Looking to Sell Video-Software Unit NDS at Steep Discount

Cisco Systems is looking to sell its video software unit NDS Group Ltd., three people familiar with the matter who spoke on conditions of anonymity told Calcalist. In November Bloomberg first reported that Cisco is looking to sell the unit.

 

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Several private equity funds are currently negotiating a possible acquisition at a sum of around $1 billion, one of these people said. Silver Lake Partners, a Menlo Park, California-headquartered firm with around $39 billion in assets under management, is looking into the deal, this person said.

 

NDS, Jerusalem. Photo: Mickey Alon NDS, Jerusalem. Photo: Mickey Alon

 

 

Cisco declined to comment.

 

Silver Lake has been approached for comment but has yet to respond.

 

Cisco bought Jerusalem-based NDS in 2012, paying around $5 billion and merging it into its Cisco Videoscape division. NDS mainly develops software for the pay TV industry, a segment that has been under increasing pressure as subscription video-on-demand services like Netflix gained popularity. The competition resulted in Videoscape experiencing dwindling revenues since 2014, leading Cisco to sell its connected-device unit in 2015.

 

NDS was founded in 1988 as News Datacom by several scientists in collaboration with Israel-based Weizmann Institute of Science. The company was listed for a decade on Nasdaq before it was acquired in 2009 for $3.6 billion by London-based private equity firm Permira and News Corporation.

 

Since its acquisition by Cisco, NDS has received several consecutive blows. Long-time CEO Abe Peled left shortly after, first for a senior vice president position within Cisco itself and then altogether, as did several other senior executives. The business unit downsized, letting go hundreds of employees in several layoff rounds.

 

Cisco has bought 13 Israel-based companies up to date, for a combined sum of around $7 billion. In 2016 Cisco acquired cloud cybersecurity company CloudLock Inc. for around $290 million and chip developer startup Leaba Semiconductor Ltd. for around $320 million.

Article source: https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3729918,00.html

Former Cisco CEO John Chambers says insects are the new lobsters

Former Cisco CEO John Chambers has launched his very own venture capital firm.

“JC2 Ventures” has the usual aim “to change the world”, this time “through digitization and startups” and by “solving major issues using digital technologies”. He also hopes to address global inequality and make stacks of dough, in no particular order.

Chambers announcement of his venture ran through a laundry list of sectors he wants to target, including the internet of things, drones and open government among them.

He also mentioned “agtech”, which we assume is “agricultural technology”. Chambers fancies the field because he believes “crickets and insects will be the next form of protein, on a large basis. The lobsters of the future if you will in many ways.”

Only a Silicon Valley venture capitalist could suggest lobster is an everyday protein, so Chambers clearly has what it takes to succeed in this field. We’re not ruling out a bio-engineering effort to create giant insects that resemble lobsters, perhaps minus the murderous pincers, because that kind of mutation is a bit Silicon Valley too.

He’s also keen on security, saying he thinks smartphones need to be more secure and mentioning voice biometrics as a field he thinks has promise. Social media, customer experience, and “voice as the next platform” plus “companies with digital implications” are also on his radar.

Chambers’ firm wants to find “CEOs who truly wants to be coached”. That’s perhaps the most credible part of his pitch, because Cisco’s own investments often created plenty of value, either as spin-ins or as companies in their own right.

The firm already has eight startups under its wing: Airware, Aspire, Dedrone, OpenGov, Pindrop, Privoro, Sprinklr, and Uniphore. Chambers was already associated with several of the companies, including insects-as-good-concern Aspire Food Group. The company currently farms palm weevil larvae in Ghana, “food-grade crickets” in the USA and runs an effort “to normalize the consumption of insects in the western world.” ®

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Article source: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/01/18/former_cisco_ceo_john_chambers_says_insects_are_the_new_lobsters/

Cisco Looking to Sell Video-Software Unit NDS

Cisco Systems is looking to sell its video software unit NDS Group Ltd., three people familiar with the matter who spoke on conditions of anonymity told Calcalist. In November Bloomberg first reported that Cisco is looking to sell the unit.

 

For daily updates, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here.

 

Several private equity funds are currently negotiating a possible acquisition at a sum of around $1 billion, one of these people said. Silver Lake Partners, a Menlo Park, California-headquartered firm with around $39 billion in assets under management, is looking into the deal, this person said.

 

NDS, Jerusalem. Photo: Mickey Alon NDS, Jerusalem. Photo: Mickey Alon

 

 

Cisco declined to comment.

 

Silver Lake has been approached for comment but has yet to respond.

 

Cisco bought Jerusalem-based NDS in 2012, paying around $5 billion and merging it into its Cisco Videoscape division. NDS mainly develops software for the pay TV industry, a segment that has been under increasing pressure as subscription video-on-demand services like Netflix gained popularity. The competition resulted in Videoscape experiencing dwindling revenues since 2014, leading Cisco to sell its connected-device unit in 2015.

 

NDS was founded in 1988 as News Datacom by several scientists in collaboration with Israel-based Weizmann Institute of Science. The company was listed for a decade on Nasdaq before it was acquired in 2009 for $3.6 billion by London-based private equity firm Permira and News Corporation.

 

Since its acquisition by Cisco, NDS has received several consecutive blows. Long-time CEO Abe Peled left shortly after, first for a senior vice president position within Cisco itself and then altogether, as did several other senior executives. The business unit downsized, letting go hundreds of employees in several layoff rounds.

 

Cisco has bought 13 Israel-based companies up to date, for a combined sum of around $7 billion. In 2016 Cisco acquired cloud cybersecurity company CloudLock Inc. for around $290 million and chip developer startup Leaba Semiconductor Ltd. for around $320 million.

Article source: https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3729918,00.html

Poison ping pong prompts patch from Cisco

Cisco admins, it’s your weekly patch notice.

The patch that gave us our headline is in NX-OS software, which is vulnerable to malicious pong (response to ping) packets.

If the pong packet tries to egress both a FabricPath port and a non-FabricPath port, the software tries to free the same area of memory twice. “An exploit could allow the attacker to cause a dual or quad supervisor virtual port-channel (vPC) to reload,” Cisco’s advised.

Exploitation would need a relatively unlikely scenario, however, since Pong is disabled by default, as is FabricPath, and the FabricPath port has to be under monitoring by a SPAN (switched port analyser) session.

Users of the Adaptive Security Appliance or the Content Security Management Appliance need to run in a fix to plug a privilege escalation bug in the Web management console.

An authenticated local attacker can push themselves from guest up to root, by firing a set of malicious commands at the command line interface.

The software in question is the AsyncOS Software for ESA and Content SMA, for both virtual and hardware appliances.

Cisco’s Unified Customer Voice Portal (CVP) and its NX-OS Nexus switch operating system software both have upgrades to plug denial-of-service vulnerabilities.

CVP’s issue concerns its method of handling SIP traffic: a targeted appliance can be crashed by malformed SIP INVITE traffic. The issue affects Cisco Unified CVP running software releases prior to 11.6(1). ®

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Article source: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/01/18/cisco_patches_appliances/

Earnings Visibility Hurt Cisco (CSCO) Rating

Cisco Systems Inc (NASDAQ:CSCO) is ranked as a Hold using the methodology of Louis Navellier for investing and his Portfolio Grader stock evaluator. This represents no change from the previous week and is the same ranking CSCO has had from Portfolio Grader for 2 months.

The company is one of the 375 companies in the GICS Electronic Technology sector and is a member of the 21 company Computer Communications GICS industry group within this sector. The market value of CSCO is $202.3 billion which falls in the top decile in its industry group Portfolio Grader’s current ranking for CSCO puts it 10 among the 21 companies in this industry group, placing it in the top half.

Currently, Portfolio Grader ranks the Electronic Technology sector number 5 among the 20 sectors in its universe putting it in the top half of all the GICS sectors. The Computer Communications industry group is ranked 85 among the 129 industry groups within the GICS sectors, placing it below-average in terms of the Navellier scoring system.

Within the Portfolio Grader stock ranking system Cisco has earned above-average scores in 4 of the 8 fundamental areas appraised by Portfolio Grader and average or below-average scores in 4 of the areas evaluated in the ranking of company stocks.

The company’s operational scores provide mixed results with rankings for sales growth and earnings growth that are below average, while the score for operating margin is above average. Scores for visibility of earnings are mixed, with rankings for earnings surprises and earnings revisions that are worse than average, while the score for earnings momentum is better than average. CSCO’s grades for cash flow and return on equity are discernibly better than its industry group average. Cisco’s fundamental scores give CSCO a place in the third quartile of the industry group.

Portfolio Grader uses the Navellier Proprietary Quantitative Score to gauge CSCO’s shares from the angle of risk/reward. This unique scoring methodology takes into account the relative value of the company’s shares based on the current price of the shares relative to its peers, the market and risk associated with its industry and sector groups. Using this risk/reward calculation, CSCO currently scores as average in its industry group compared to its peers.

Louis Navellier’s proprietary Portfolio Grader stock ranking system assesses roughly 5,000 companies every week based on a number of fundamental and quantitative measures. Stocks are given a letter grade based on their results, with A being ‘strong buy’ and F being ‘strong sell’. Explore the tool here.

Commentary provided by UpTick Data Technologies.

Article source: https://investorplace.com/2018/01/earnings-visibility-hurt-cisco-csco-rating/

Ex-Cisco CEO John Chambers’s new venture capital firm: JC2 …

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John Chambers, CEO of Cisco, at the 2015 CGI Annual Meeting in New York.

Anita Balakrishnan

A10, Aerohive Crater, Boosting Cisco, Arista, Juniper – Barron’s

Shares of computer network and security vendors A10 Networks (ATEN) and Aerohive (HIVE) both plunged today, after the companies both warned yesterday, after market close, that results will fall short of expectations for the current quarter.

Aerohive closed down $1.63, or almost 30%, at $4.07, while A10 dropped 99 cents, or almost 14%, to close at $6.32.

That has lifted the fortunes of networking peers, which could conceivably benefit as the duo stumble. Cisco Systems (CSCO) stock was up 66 cents, or 1.6%, at $41.20, Arista Networks (ANET) rose $10.04, or almost 4%, at $262.81, and Juniper Networks (JNPR) closed up 6 cents at $28.67.

Aerohive announced its Q4 revenue, for the three months ending in December, will come in at around $37 million, below its prior outlook for $40 million to $42 million, and below consensus for $40.5 million.

The company was “disappointed,” said CEO David Flynn, citing problems with the company’s “execution” of its sales effort. He said the company had replaced “underperforming sales team members” and the company expects to “capitalize on our improved product offering and exciting roadmap in 2018.”

Aerohive is expected to report full results on February 8th.

A10, for its part, cut its revenue outlook for the quarter to a range of $55.5 million to $56 million, down from a prior range of $64 million to $67 million, and below consensus for $65.1 million.

Aerohive’s CEO, Lee Chen, said the company was “disappointed,” and attributed the reduction in outlook to a “shortfall in North America,” a result of “lower than expected seasonal demand trends” in the region.

Chen said A10 had taken steps during the past two quarters to improve execution, and that A10 is “continuing to work to align our sales and enablement engine with the growth opportunities in our market.”

At least one bull threw in the towel today on Aerohive. Catharine Trebnick with Dougherty Co., cut her rating on both stocks to Neutral from what had been Buy. Trebnick notes that the company “has missed guidance in three of the last five quarters and continues to lack consistency.”

At this point, she plans to “revisit and reassess the company’s ability to execute on their guide as new sales leadership settles in.”

She keeps a Buy rating on A10 shares, however. Q4. she writes, “typically is a strong quarter for A10, but our recent North American enterprise checks suggest a roll-up of regional partners may have impacted A10 sales in the period.”

“The good news is A10 expects non-GAAP EPS of $0.05 – $0.06,” she continues, “at the high end of their prior guide range of $0.01 – $0.07 and above our/Street estimates of $0.02/$0.03.”

Piper Jaffray’s James Fish, who cover Cisco but covers neither Aerohive nor A10, takes both reports as evidence that “Cisco has become more competitive, including in wireless.”

Therefore, it all just supports his view that Cisco is the best pick for investors among networking stocks.

Article source: https://www.barrons.com/articles/a10-aerohive-crater-boosting-cisco-arista-juniper-1516225291

Kehoe Rodgers: Reappointment of ‘Cisco’ marred by an ugly blot



This isn’t the column I thought I’d be writing.

It isn’t a column I want to write.

I thought I’d be writing about the reappointment of Frank “Hank Cisco” Ciaccio as Norristown Ambassador, a position essentially created for him decades ago.

I thought I’d be writing about how Norristown council members heard the voices of their constituents, listened to the concerns and complaints, and righted a wrong and did the right thing for the right reason. I thought the column would be uplifting — shed a terrific light on Norristown council.

I should be writing that this little “blip” on Norristown’s radar screen did indeed have a happy ending. End of story.

Instead, the remarks of a council member have seemingly turned this little “blip” into something much more; something that it shouldn’t be. And those remarks jarred the spotlight away from a man who devoted most of his 94 years on this earth to Norristown – and turned this blip into an argument Norristown should not be having.

A couple of weeks ago Norristown council failed to reappoint Cisco to the position of Norristown ambassador. The item was tabled by council president Sonya Sanders, without a real explanation.

“We tabled that item. We didn’t put it on the agenda,” Sanders told Katie Kohler after the Jan. 2 meeting. “The word table would be the correct term to use. However, that’s not to say he is not the ambassador or we are looking for someone else to be the ambassador.”

That cloaked statement resulted in residents and supporters creating a social media fire storm – questioning why the appointment of Cisco was tabled and pretty much demanding that council do “the right thing” by reappointing this lifelong servant of the town.

It was that fire storm, those loud and consistent voices of Cisco supporters, that prompted council vice president Derrick Perry to address the situation – and not very diplomatically.

Perry delivered at Tuesday’s meeting what seemed like a civics lesson – firing questions at solicitor Sean Kilkenny about the inner workings of a council meeting – what is required of a presiding president, how executive sessions work, what is expected of council members and what are their limitations. There were also accusations leveled at unnamed council member(s) that the information to table the appointment was “leaked” to the press and to residents.

After the third or fourth time the word leaked was used during comments by Sanders and Perry, I started questioning why this would have been a secret in the first place. Why would certain council members, if they stood behind their decision to table the reappointment and were confident it was the right decision – hide it from their fellow council members and the residents?

I listened to Perry pepper Kilkenny with these questions – which I took as a passive-aggressive way of saying council was right and residents were wrong – and then I glimpsed at the 30 or so Cisco supporters – all wearing top hats with the words “We Love Rock” on them. It just seemed wrong to me that Cisco’s family and friends were forced to hear these condescending words from an elected council person.

After throwing those questions at Kilkenny, Perry then used his time to deflect accountability and he accused the newspaper (that would be The Times Herald) of publishing “misleading” stories – and then said what I thought was deplorable. He insinuated that the anger, indignation and frustration that residents felt were racially motivated.

“There are some people in this town that are unhappy that African Americans are calling the shots,” Perry said Tuesday night.

And that’s when he lost me.

That statement very well may be true – I haven’t seen or heard anything of the sort. But I’m not African American and I’m not on council. But when Perry threw out the race card…he did a disservice to his constituents, to his fellow council members – and he gave credence to the people in this town who are racists. He gave the power to them.

On Tuesday Perry went on to say that Cisco is indeed a remarkable representative of Norristown, but perhaps there are other people who would like the chance to serve in that capacity.

So, here’s the thing – if Sanders and other council members would like someone other than Cisco to represent Norristown – how about advertising the position? How about letting all the interested residents of Norristown vie for the position? All Sanders had to do, prior to the established date of reappointment, is communicate with the residents what was going on.

The Times Herald gave Sanders several opportunities to explain why she tabled the motion. At best she gave vague answers. Katie talked to her. Staff writer Oscar Gamble talked to her. I’m still unclear how we misled our readers, as Perry claimed. We reported what happened, and gave Sanders ample opportunities to explain things better to us. We wrote what we had, so to speak.

The worst thing that came out of Tuesday’s meeting, as far as I can see, is that it created divisiveness. Those in attendance were angry and frustrated that the situation devolved like it did – all because council members couldn’t just admit the situation was handled badly from the start – that they didn’t foresee their inaction would have caused such backlash.

Rochelle Griffin Culbreath, a former council member and always a community activist, said she got a sense that council members were grandstanding, and did not project an ideal image.

“I felt pretty disappointed. Most importantly, the content of people’s character – on council – was truly evident the day after Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday.”

“They not only showed disrespect to Hank, they showed disrespect to the whole community,” said activist and mentor Buck Jones. “Council vice president Derrick Perry pulling that race card? Uncalled for and unsubstantiated. And I don’t believe there’s a person alive today that can hold that position like Hank Cisco can. I don’t think he can be replaced.”

Certainly there were more diplomatic ways to handle this situation. If council indeed wants a new face to represent Norristown, then how about appointing Hank ambassador for life, or ambassador emeritus, and then creating a secondary position? It’s a free position – no financial strings attached. If council can approve $300 travel expense to municipal manager Crandall Jones on top of his pretty nice salary, then a second ambassadorship at no charge should be a no-brainer.

The Cisco situation prompted council members Valerie Scott-Cooper as well as Perry to question why residents were not as vocal and passionate and more involved in the daily workings of the town. Why it took the shunning of Cisco to get people to react.

I actually thought those were good points – but then I thought – why isn’t council more involved in the daily workings of the town? Why don’t they engage with the community more? Why aren’t they more concerned with creating good relationships with their constituents?

The Norristown Police Department is making a tremendous effort in community engagement. Chief Mark Talbot has his officers interacting in very positive ways with the residents on a consistent basis. Fire Chief Tom O’Donnell and the firefighters of the Norristown Fire Department do a terrific job getting involved with the community. Check out each department’s Facebook pages just to get a sampling of the commitment they show to the residents they serve: https://www.facebook.com/pg/NorristownPD/posts/?ref=page_internal

https://www.facebook.com/pg/NorristownFireDepartment/posts/?ref=page_internal

And these are not elected positions.

Tuesday’s reappointment of Hank Cisco should have erased the blip on Norristown’s radar screen. Instead, because of council’s handling of the situation and the accusations and denials issued by council members, that blip is now an ugly blot.

This is not the column I wanted to write.

Cheryl Kehoe Rodgers is a content editor at The Times Herald. She can be reached at crodgers@timesherald.com.

Article source: http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20180117/kehoe-rodgers-reappointment-of-cisco-marred-by-an-ugly-blot

Ex-Cisco CEO John Chambers jumps into venture capital

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John Chambers, CEO of Cisco, at the 2015 CGI Annual Meeting in New York.

Anita Balakrishnan

Is Cisco Systems, Inc. (CSCO) a Buy?

Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) is usually considered a slow-growth stock, but shares of the networking equipment giant surged nearly 40% over the past 12 months. That rally might seem baffling, since Cisco reported negative sales growth and anemic earnings growth over the past few quarters.

Nonetheless, Wall Street remains bullish on Cisco, with 16 analysts rating it as a “buy”, three considering it “overweight”, nine ranking it as a “hold”, and none calling it a “sell”.

Cisco's offices.

Image source: Cisco.

So looking forward into 2018, should investors buy Cisco, or should they wait for a pullback? To decide, let’s examine four reasons to buy Cisco and four reasons to avoid it.

4 reasons to buy Cisco

  • Cisco remains the 800-pound gorilla in networking hardware. During the third quarter of 2017, it controlled 56.7% of the ethernet switching market and 41.4% of the enterprise and service provider router market according to IDC.

  • Cisco pays a forward dividend yield of 2.9%, which is much higher than the SP 500′s current yield of 1.8%. That dividend, which has been hiked annually since its inception in 2011, is supported by a low payout ratio of 59%.

  • Cisco’s Applications and Security businesses respectively posted 6% and 8% annual sales growth last quarter. Those businesses only accounted for 15% of Cisco’s revenue, but they’re gradually offsetting the slower growth of its Infrastructure (switching and routing) businesses.

  • Cisco finished last quarter with $71.6 million in cash, cash equivalents, and investments, but just $2.5 billion of that total was available in the US. This makes Cisco a major beneficiary of the Trump Administration’s decision to reduce the 35% corporate tax rate in the US to 21%, and taxes on repatriated income from 35% to 8%-15.5%.

    If Cisco repatriates most of its overseas cash, it could significantly boost its buybacks or dividends, or pursue domestic acquisitions (especially in the higher-growth security, wireless, and collaboration markets) without issuing more debt. All those moves could boost shareholder value and transform Cisco’s core business.

4 reasons to avoid Cisco

  • Cisco still dominates the switching and router markets, but IDC’s aforementioned market share figures represent year-over-year declines from the third quarter of 2016 when Cisco controlled 57% of the ethernet switch market and 44% of the enterprise and service provider router market. Cisco’s top rival Huawei gained ground in both markets during that period.

    Arista Networks (NYSE:ANET), which specializes in switches for software-defined networking (SDN) solutions, also grew its market share. Arista is especially dangerous, since its switches and open-source Linux-based OS are optimized for generic “white box” network setups. These cheaper setups undermine Cisco’s traditional strategy of selling its networking hardware and software in bundles.

  • Despite the improvements in its Applications business, Cisco’s Infrastructure business continues to post negative sales growth. As a result, analysts expect its total revenue and earnings to respectively rise just 1% and 3% this year.

  • Those anemic growth rates aren’t fully justified by Cisco’s valuation. Cisco currently trades at 21 times earnings, which is lower than the industry average P/E of 35 for communication equipment vendors but marks its highest trailing multiple since 2010.

  • Cisco’s high P/E ratio indicates that the stock is being propped up by two main things — its decent dividend and rosy expectations for its repatriated cash. However, rising interest rates could cause investors to dump higher valued dividend stocks like Cisco, and there’s no guarantee that Cisco will repatriate all of its cash from low tax havens like Ireland.

The verdict: Avoid Cisco (for now)

Cisco had a good run, but I think there’s too much optimism baked into the stock. Its routers and switches are still losing ground to aggressive rivals like Huawei and Arista, and the growth of its Applications business is barely offsetting those declines.

Cisco is a low-risk stock, but I don’t think it’s a great buy with the stock’s P/E hovering at multi-year highs. If you’re interested in buying Cisco, wait for the stock to drop on rising interest rates or doubts about its repatriation plans before starting a position.

 

Article source: https://www.fool.com/investing/2018/01/17/is-cisco-systems-inc-csco-a-buy.aspx