Cisco makes rare hardware play with Leaba Semiconductor acquisition

Cisco is buying a chip design company that could bolster its data center networking expertise

Cisco makes rare hardware play with Leaba Semiconductor acquisition

Hacking tools that may have been stolen from the NSA target Cisco products.

Credit: Stephen Lawson

Cisco Systems is buying in some chip expertise that could help it in the data center.

The networking giant's latest acquisition target is Leaba Semiconductor, a fabless semiconductor company based in Israel.

The company is "in stealth mode," according to its website, which indicates only that it develops semiconductors to address "significant infrastructure challenges."

Cisco had little more to say concerning Leaba's field of work in its blog post about the acquisition by Rob Salvagno, head of its mergers, acquisitions, and venture investment team.

However, according to information provided by Israel's Ministry of Economy, Leaba specializes in the design of chips for connecting memory, storage, and compute in data center environments.

The company's software manager, Omer Sali, is a former data center manager, according to his LinkedIn profile, while the company's CEO Eyal Dagan and other senior figures are former employees of semiconductor company Broadcom.

Cisco will pay $320 million in cash and equity for the young company and plans to incorporate it into its own engineering team, reporting into its Core Hardware Group, led by Senior Vice President Ravi Cherukuri.

The acquisition is a rare hardware play for Cisco, which in recent years has focused on buying software firms to bolster its cloud, security, analytics, and Internet of Things capabilities. On Tuesday it bought CliQr, a cloud orchestration specialist, and last month splashed $1.4 billion on IoT management platform Jasper Technologies.

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