SpiderCloud, one of the last small cell startups standing, could make a tempting M&A target.
Here's a thing: There really aren't a lot of small cell startups left for larger vendors to buy, particularly not ones with a steady and growing revenue stream.
That's why it's interesting to look at SpiderCloud Wireless and consider its future. The enterprise small cell startup has been said to be considering an IPO in the future, but that isn't the only option for the company. (See Could Market Volatility Hurt Tech IPOs?)
From what I've heard, a sale could also be an alternative.
So let's look at some of the possible buyers:
The obvious choice Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) would seem to be the clear choice as a potential acquirer. SpiderCloud and Cisco have a fruitful partnership, which is helping to increase the startup's revenue while further cementing Cisco's reputation as a frontline player in the wireless enterprise market. (See Cisco to Resell SpiderCloud's Small Cells.)
But Cisco might be a bit wary of another small cell acquisition. The company didn't have a huge success in buying Ubiquisys in 2013 and didn't end up with the 3G and 4G small cell product line it had hoped for. (See Cisco Buying Ubiquisys for $310M and Cisco's Small Cell Boss Is Gone.)
SpiderCloud has trash-talked Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC)'s Dot efforts in the past but could help provide the vendor with a ready-made enterprise small cell customer base. (See Ericsson's Radio Dot Receives Mixed Reception.)
The wild card An outside possibility in this M&A scenario is HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ) The vendor bought enterprise WiFi provider Aruba Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: ARUN) in March for $3 billion in cash. SpiderCloud could be seen as a nice enterprise 3G and 4G complement to that buy, and HP clearly isn't shy about spending money to get what it wants. (See HP Sets Sail for Aruba.)
The price Money is definitely going to be an issue when it comes to SpiderCloud. With growing revenues and an eye on an IPO, the company is unlikely to be cheap.
Larger players have been mostly scooping up femtocell survivors for small change recently. Airvana Inc. was bought by CommScope Inc. for a reported $50 million earlier this month. It had been bought by private investors in 2009 for $530 million. (See CommScope Adds Small Cells to DAS With Airvana Buy.)
The timeframe There is, however, probably a limited window of time in which an acquisition could happen. SpiderCloud is apparently mulling an IPO in 2016 if it continues with its upward momentum.
Do you have any thoughts on potential buyers for SpiderCloud? Let us know on the message boards below.
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading