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What's Driving Check Point Software's Stock Lately?

Also, another Delia's dollop and Raychem rumblings.

And a Terrific Tuesday to You, Too:

Keep an eye on

Check Point Software

(CHKP) - Get Free Report

: The firewall-software company's profits and stock have been ablaze of late. Now I'm hearing chatter that Check Point, because of its success, is a sitting duck to be acquired and that


(CSCO) - Get Free Report

, of all companies, could be the buyer. True? You wouldn't know it talking to Jerry Ungerman, Check Point's executive VP. He declined to discuss takeover rumors but did say, "If you find out what's going on, give me a call."

Ungerman says he believes the recent activity surrounding Check Point -- which has leaped 22% in the past two weeks -- has more to do with his company's performance and a delayed reaction to its earnings than anything else. He says he recently returned from an industry trade show and in recent weeks has met with analysts. "My impression is our story makes a lot of sense to them," he says.

He adds that from Check Point's vantage, there has been "a clear separation of business models" between Check Point and the likes of

Network Associates


(Arf!) and

Secure Computing


(Arf! Arf!). These businesses haven't fared as well in the Internet security biz, especially in the rapidly growing market for virtual private networking, which (among other things) helps companies create secure Intranets.

But some analysts believe the firewall biz is becoming a commodity biz, which brings us to the question of independence: Has Cisco decided it's time to go shopping to broaden its Internet security offerings? Short of saying that Check Point is one of his company's firewall competitors, a Cisco spokesman declined comment. And this FYI: Cisco itself just announced its own virtual private networking product. Wouldn't buying a competitor so soon after rolling out its own product suggest its own product is no good? One would think.

From the "take it for what it's worth" department:



, the teen catalog company, sneaked out an


filing yesterday to disclose that last Friday it canned its auditor,

Deloitte & Touche

, in favor of

Ernst & Young

. According to the filing, which was spotted by my assistant, Mark Martinez, there were no outstanding disagreements.

Ernst, interestingly, is the auditor for



, which was recently spun out of Delia's. A sudden shift in auditors at a small company, from one large firm to another, can mean little more than the company got a better deal, or simply had better chemistry with the auditors with the new firm. It can also mean the original firm was too tough and asked too many questions.

Which was it? Delia's isn't saying. (At least it didn't tell me; a spokeswoman, after taking my call, never got back with an answer.)

Raychem rumblings:

On Friday



looked (and acted) like a takeover target, as its stock and options zoomed. Yesterday, well, the stock wilted back to pre-takeover levels when no deal materialized. I hear, however, that Raychem will not announce a deal; it'll merely announce something to the effect that it is putting itself up for sale. Officials of Raychem, which makes a variety of high-performance electronic components, declined to comment.

Herb Greenberg writes daily for In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, though he owns stock in He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. He welcomes your feedback at Greenberg also writes a monthly column for Fortune.