Cisco, a value play?

I was reading Barron’s this morning and came across an article (sorry-need subscription for this) claiming Cisco’s potential appeal as a value stock.  It is hard to believe that this high flying company which once was the largest market cap company at $600b is now potentially a great value play.  The hot growth sector these days is energy and now Exxon Mobil is the largest market cap company at $400b.  Anyway, this table from the article says it all.  The P/E ratios (range from 18.7 to 19.6)of the tech giants like Cisco, Microsoft, Intel and Oracle are equal to or less than non-tech large caps like J&J, Wal Mart, and Coca Cola (range from 19.4 to 21).  In fact, Cisco’s 2005 P/E at 17 is less than that of the S&P 500’s at 17.4.  When most people think tech, they think high growth but this chart and these P/E ratios should really bring us back to earth.  I don’t disagree with Larry Ellison’s assertion a couple of years ago that the technology markets are maturing.  That is one of the reasons we see all of these huge mergers happening as companies seek to expand their markets, their product lines, and revenue.  That being said, there are still large pockets of growth which will provide startups with plenty of opportunity to succeed.  Cisco, for example, is spending heavily in new markets like security, VOIP, storage, and wireless.  The great news is that in pursuit of growth many of these big players are not afraid to pay up for the right products (think of the $450mm Airespace acquisition in the wireless area as an example).

Published by Ed Sim

founder boldstart ventures, over 20 years experience seeding and leading first rounds in enterprise startups, @boldstartvc, googlization of IT, SaaS 3.0, security, smart data; cherish family time + enjoy lacrosse + hockey

2 comments on “Cisco, a value play?”

  1. I just did a search online for Cisco and P/E ratio. It is amazing that so many articles rightly criticized Cisco’s amazingly high P/E ratio a few years ago and argued that it was unsastainable. This may be a sign that a little sanity has entered the world.

  2. Makes sense… acquisitions for Cisco business is the building block for Ciscoโ€™s future growth and competitive edge.

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