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Robbins listens a question from media during a news conference in New Delhi
Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins Photograph by Adnan Abidi — Reuters

Cisco Is Spending Money Like There’s No Tomorrow

Mar 08, 2016

Cisco continues to spend big bucks in 2016.

On Tuesday, the networking giant said it will invest $500 million in Germany over a three-year period. The cash will be used to expand a Cisco non-profit program for IT training in the country, a research project on German privacy and data protection regulations, and fund various regional startups.

"Germany has long been known for its focus on innovation, and digitization opens up unprecedented opportunities for the country,” said Cisco (csco) CEO Chuck Robbins in a statement.

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But this is just the most recent in a string of expenditures for the company. Cisco also revealed that it started a $150 million fund it will use to invest in companies that can build products and services for its Spark work-collaboration and chat product.

Additionally, the company bought a small San Francisco startup called Synata that specializes in data-searching technology. The startup’s technology will be used to improve the search capabilities within Spark, so users will be to more easily find documents even when encrypted, according to a blog post announcing the deal.

This is all in addition to last week's spending spree. Last Tuesday, Cisco said it would buy a cloud computing startup called CliQr for $260 million. The following day, the company said it would buy an Israel-based chip fabrication company called Leaba Semiconductor for $380 million.

Obviously Cisco hasn’t been shy about acquisitions, and has roughly $60 billion on hand to help it cut deals. Robbins told Fortune last week that the harsh technology market has led to the public IPO markets being “effectively closed right now.” This gives Cisco more leg room to negotiate deals with startups than it would have had just a year ago.

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But the most recent, German investments continue a trend of global ventures that Cisco has made in the past year.

For instance, in June, the company said it would invest $10 billion in China, amid sagging sales in the region. Then in July, it poured $1 billion into the United Kingdom, investing in companies that specialize in the so-called Internet of things, which refers to the notion of devices like cars and factory machinery being connected online.

It makes sense that Cisco would want to keep on investing in other countries, especially as it attempts to build its Internet of things and cloud businesses. There are regulatory issues in various countries pertaining to data sovereignty that can impact U.S.-based companies performing data analytics and cloud services. If Cisco wants to grow its business in those areas, it's going to need to make sure it has good relationships with local regulators as well as regional businesses. And that never comes cheap.

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