Cloud Companies Are Becoming Hot M&A Targets

Four acquisitions of virtual software and cloud-based companies this week have fueled speculation that there will be more to come.

At the VMworld conference this week, the buzz has mostly been about the bidding war over 3Par, which Hewlett-Packard won today with its $2.4 billion offer. (As we previously reported, a few VC firms stand to benefit from the 3Par acquisition).

Meanwhile, VMware has purchased two VC-backed cloud-related companies: Integrien, a provider of network analysis, and TriCipher, a security software developer. No terms were disclosed on either transaction, which VMWare expects to finalize within the next month.

Integrien had raised $28 million in VC funding, including an $8 million round in May from Clearstone Venture Partners and Acartha Group, Mariner Capital Ventures, while TriCipher raised a $12 million round in early 2009 from ArrowPath Venture Capital, Epic Ventures, Intel Capital, RBC Technology Ventures and Trident Capital.

On top of those deals, Citrix Systems announced earlier this week that it has bought VMLogix for its cloud management technology.

“Things are certainly getting frothy, and we expect to see a lot more acquisitions by these large companies in the months ahead,” one cloud company executive said to me at a cocktail party last night, following the VMworld conference.

Which cloud company do you think is best positioned to get purchased next?