Updated from 2 p.m.Cisco ( CSCO), the sleeping 800-pound gorilla of networking gear, is showing signs of new vitality. At least that's what one analyst concludes after sitting through the company's state-of-the-business presentation this week, and ruminating on the company's
Of course, bold moves carry big price tags, and some Cisco watchers see a gray lining to the silver cloud. Plowing more than $5 billion in cash into the Scientific deal will likely slow down Cisco's share-repurchase campaign. Last quarter, Cisco spent $3.5 billion on buybacks, taking its cash pile down to $13.5 billion from $16.1 billion in the prior quarter. And because Cisco keeps a big chunk of its cash offshore, the pile immediately available for deals is not as big as one might think. The upshot: Cisco may have to pull out the credit card for Scientific, some say. "Since international cash cannot be used for share buybacks, dividends or U.S. acquisitions, Cisco will likely raise debt for the SFA acquisition," writes UBS analyst Nikos Theodosopoulos in a report Wednesday. Theodosopoulos has a neutral rating on Cisco. Whether it's desperate, bold or risky, Cisco has decided not to simply wait around for corporate tech spending to rebound. "We are encouraged that Cisco is stepping up its efforts to take new chances and throwing the proverbial spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks," says JPMorgan's Gelblum.