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Cisco taps new M&A firm Tidal for $28 billion Splunk deal

Cisco taps new M&A firm Tidal for $28 billion Splunk deal © Reuters. The Cisco logo is displayed, during the GSMA’s 2023 Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain March 1, 2023. REUTERS/Nacho Doce

By Milana Vinn and Anirban Sen

NEW YORK (Reuters) -A new mergers and acquisitions advisory firm launched last year by former Centerview Partners dealmakers has scored a big win by advising Cisco Systems Inc (NASDAQ:) on its $28 billion acquisition of cybersecurity firm Splunk (NASDAQ:) Inc.

Based in Palo Alto, California, Tidal was started by technology bankers David Handler and David Neequaye. Their firm, which employs just two dozen people according to its website, was the sole financial adviser to Cisco, while larger investment banking peers Qatalyst Partners and Morgan Stanley advised Splunk.

While at Centerview, Handler worked closely with Cisco for several years and advised on numerous deals including, Cisco’s $5 billion acquisition of NDS Group in 2012 and Cisco’s $3.7 billion purchase of AppDynamics in 2017.

“We’ve known David (Handler) and his partner David (Neequaye) for a very long time, they did a great job for us, and so we’ve had that relationship for a long time,” Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins said in an interview on Thursday.

Tidal’s win comes as more technology bankers decide to launch their own firms amid an overall slowdown in dealmaking in the sector. Three former Qatalyst Partners bankers launched a new technology-focused investment banking boutique called AXOM Partners earlier this week, Reuters reported.

Handler and Neequaye helped launch Centerview’s technology advisory group in 2008. The group went on to advise other major technology companies including Cisco, Qualcomm (NASDAQ:) Inc and Twilio (NYSE:) Inc.

Handler, who previously worked at UBS Group AG (SIX:), sued Centerview after his departure over a pay dispute.

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