Cisco’s $28 billion Splunk acquisition could face a challenge from EU regulators ahead of March antitrust review deadline

Cisco logo on a sign in in San Jose, California, US, on Monday, Aug. 14, 2023
(Image credit: Getty Images)

EU regulators will be making a decision as to whether or not they clear a $28 billion deal between Cisco and Splunk that will see the tech giant expand its cloud security services. 

According to an EU commission filing, this deal is in the “investigation” stage, meaning that regulators are currently examining whether the acquisition could harm competition. 

What happens next will depend on what conclusions regulators come to during the review.

Whether they decide to clear the deal, with or without changes to the terms, or they decide to launch a more thorough investigation, regulators will have to commit to a course of action by March 13th. 

Cisco Splunk deal raised eyebrows, and regulators are concerned

The firms have a long history already, dating back 10-years. Most recently, the pair have an established data security relationship. This deal, however, would build significantly on the existing partnership. 

Initially announced in September 2023, the ambitious bid for Splunk ranked the acquisition as one of the largest of the year. Cisco said the move aimed to combine the “complementary capabilities” of both firms and offer a most robust portfolio of services for customers. 

Threat detection, prediction, and prevention were all cited as important focuses of the deal, and Cisco looks set to expand its security analytics capabilities through the Splunk platform.

On top of that, this acquisition would also reduce CIsco's reliance on its network equipment offerings, which have struggled owing to long-term supply chain and demand issues.  

The deal is expected to be cash flow positive and, if they merged, Cisco and Splunk would become one of the world's largest software companies.

At the time of the announcement, executives at both firms highlighted the excitement surrounding the deal. Splunk chief executive Gary Steele said the move “represents the next phase of Splunk’s growth journey” and that the tie-up will create an “industry-leading organization”.

“Together, we will form a global security and observability leader that harnesses the power of data and AI to deliver excellent customer outcomes and transform the industry,” he said. 

It’s not out of the question that the acquisition could be blocked in the EU. 


Regulators have taken an increasingly hard stance on big tech mergers in recent years, with Adobe’s Figma acquisition a prime example of their willingness to block what they view as a deal that could harm competition. 

In December 2023, Adobe announced it had shelved plans to acquire Figma following pushback from regulators in both the EU and United Kingdom. The firm said the deal will be scrapped due to there being “no clear path” for regulatory approval. 

This means Adobe will be forced to pay a $1 billion termination fee to Figma as part of the move.

George Fitzmaurice
Staff Writer

George Fitzmaurice is a staff writer at ITPro, ChannelPro, and CloudPro, with a particular interest in AI regulation, data legislation, and market development. After graduating from the University of Oxford with a degree in English Language and Literature, he undertook an internship at the New Statesman before starting at ITPro. Outside of the office, George is both an aspiring musician and an avid reader.