Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. (HPE) CEO Meg Whitman has outlined a plan to reshape the Silicon Valley icon through divestitures. After a mixed fourth fiscal quarter earnings report, however, analysts have suggested that the company could engineer revenue growth with acquisitions.
Revenues of $12.5 billion for the fourth-fiscal quarter missed consensus forecasts of $12.8 billion late Tuesday, though earnings of 61 cents per share beat forecasts by a cent. Share gained 64 cents, or 2.8%, to $23.51 on Wednesday.
"IT spending has slowed in the last couple of months, even from being fairly slow all year." Needham & Co analyst Richard Kugele said of the outlook for the larger enterprise tech market.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise, a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio, is undergoing major change. The company is spinning out its enterprise services unit and merging the business with Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC) in an $8.5 billion transaction. It has a similar, $8.8 billion deal to merge its software operations with Micro Focus International.
As it slims down, Kugele suggested the company should look for acquisitions in growing markets.
"They should definitely be stepping up on the storage side," the analyst said. "Next generation storage is where all of the innovation is happening in hardware."
After the company split from HP Inc. (HPQ) in November 2015, Whitman told investors during an earnings call that Hewlett Packard Enterprise would fill gaps by building or expanding their own businesses or through partnerships. However, the company would also pursue $2.35 purchase of storage outfit 3PAR, the $2.7 billion acquisition of 3Com Corp. and the $3 billion deal for Aruba Networks Inc.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise said it would acquire high-performance computing Silicon Graphics International Corp. (SGI) for $275 million in August. The company declined to comment on whether it would launch more deals.
Nimble Storage Inc. (NMBL) could be a target for Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Kugele suggested.
Shares of Nimble dropped nearly 15% on Wednesday after the company's third-quarter earnings, putting Nimble's market cap at $670 million.
Revenues grew 26% to $102 million in the third quarter, in line with forecasts. A loss of 18 cents per share equaled the consensus. However, sales and marketing expenses hurt margins.
"Fundamentally the difficulty for Nimble is that it sells all-flash storage products into an extremely competitive storage environment." Mark Kelleher of D.A. Davidson & Co. wrote in a report. Nimble declined to comment on the possibility of a deal.
Other candidates include Nutanix Inc. (NTNX) , with a market cap of nearly $4.7 billion, and Pure Storage Inc. (PSTG) , valued around $2.8 billion. "They are probably at the upper end of what is mathematically possible," Kugele said. "I don't think either want to sell." Both companies declined to comment.
Alongside storage companies like Nimble or Pure, Angelo Zino of CFRA Research suggested, a cloud networking company like Arista Networks Inc. (ANET) cloud interest HP Enterprise. Arista, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment, has a $6.7 billion market cap.