Shares of Citrix jumped 5% Wednesday on reheated rumors that Microsoft may be bidding for its longtime partner. Volume in Citrix shares was about 50% heavier than average. One source indicated that Microsoft would be paying $36 for each Citrix share, which is essentially where Citrix started the year.
This rumor, of course, has made the rounds before. We noted in April that although both IBM and Cisco were rumored suitors for Citrix, our top pick for the acquirer would be Microsoft. (The two companies have been close for years, with Citrix being one of just two companies with access to the Windows source code.) All that said, however, we don’t see Microsoft buying Citrix. (How would Microsoft handle the fact that XenSource, which is arguably Citrix’s most-coveted asset, is built on open source software?)
As to why the rumor resurfaced Wednesday, we might trace that back to a misread of Microsoft’s announcement the day before that it was planning to sell some $2bn of commercial paper. The thinking is that Redmond might be prepping an even larger offering. But looking at Microsoft’s current balance sheet, it could buy Citrix four times over with the cash and short-term investments it already holds.