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Tech Hitting the M&A Trail

The networking space also offers rich pickings, according to the analyst, who highlights switch maker F5 Networks (FFIV), and Wide Area Network (WAN) optimizer Riverbed (RVBD) as particularly attractive. With firms pushing more and more data across global networks, there is a lot of interest in WAN optimization, but Gruia feels that Riverbed's $1.62 billion market cap could be a deterrent to potential suitors.

F5 Networks would be even more expensive, with a valuation of $3.2 billion, although Gruia also likes Aruba (ARUN) and Starent Networks (STAR - Get Report).

"Starent are strong competitors in the mobile content space," he said, speculating that they could be a good fit for Juniper (JNPR - Get Report) or Cisco.

Two names, however, are popping up repeatedly in tech M&A discussions.

"Brocade would make sense for H-P because it would give them storage networking and high-end IP networking," said Gruia.

451Group analyst Brenon Daly echoed this sentiment. "What do H-P and Brocade both have in common? They both square off against Cisco," he explained. "Brocade is a key component of networking infrastructure."

Both H-P and Brocade declined to comment on the rumors linking the two firms when recently contacted by TheStreet, although storage certainly seems to be a busy space.

NetApp, for example, has also been generating plenty of buzz after losing out to EMC (EMC) in the tussle to acquire Data Domain (DDUP).

One company said to be eyeing a storage play is Dell. Praveen Asthana, the firm's vice president of enterprise storage, would not rule out M&A in an interview with TheStreet earlier this week.
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