Storage networking specialist
may have some lucrative new partnerships up its sleeve, potentially increasing the pressure on rival
already sells Brocade's Fibre Channel switches as part of what is known as an Other Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) deal. This partnership may now be expanded to include technology from Brocade's acquisition of
, according to Kaushik Roy, an analyst at Wedbush Morgan.
"We believe H-P may sign an OEM deal for Ethernet/Foundry products in the not too distant future," he wrote, in a note released Friday. Although H-P would have to avoid any overlap with its existing ProCurve products, Roy estimates that a deal could eventually be worth more than $100 million a year to Brocade.
The switch maker is certainly on something of a charm offensive. For example, Brocade recently strengthened its
, clinching a new distribution
for Internet routers and switches.
Wedbush Morgan's Roy also thinks that
may sign an OEM deal for all of Brocade's products in the near future, a move that could challenge Dell's existing partner EMC.
"It is well known that Brocade is trying all server vendors to sign an OEM deal for Ethernet products," he wrote, adding that Dell may even sign a deal for Brocade's Fibre Channel switches and its Host Bus Adapters, which connect servers to storage.
Brocade refused to comment on the possibility of these deals, although the firm has previously stated that it is evaluating its existing partnerships with a view to expanding its networking presence.
H-P also declined to comment when contacted by
, although the server and storage maker is confronted with a much-changed tech landscape.
The hardware giant, for example, is gunning for its one-time partner Cisco, which recently sent shockwaves through the tech sector by
the server market. With H-P now fixing its
firmly on Cisco's
, a deal with Brocade would not be implausible.
Dell has not yet responded to a request for comment on a possible deal with Brocade, which certainly appears to be
market share from Cisco.
Another analyst is also carefully monitoring Brocade's plans, particularly its financial strategy.
"Over the past week or so, Brocade management has been 'radio silent' and, to our knowledge, has not spoken with the buy-side or sell-side community (which is rare for the company)," said Brian Marshall, an analyst at Broadpoint AmTech, in a note released Friday.
This could mean that Brocade is contemplating a financing deal to lower its debt payments or potential M&A, he added. "We believe Brocade is more likely a target versus an acquirer, but the OEM nature of its businesses could present competitive problems for some likely suitors."
Brocade also refused to comment on the possibility of financing or M&A.
Both Roy and Marshall maintained their Brocade "buy" rating and price targets of $9 and $10.25, respectively.
Shares of Brocade, which have risen steadily since March, dipped 5 cents, or 0.7%, to $7.63 during Friday trading.