Data center and networking equipment manufacturer Brocade Communications Systems has reportedly begun shopping itself around, according to a report published in the Wall Street Journal. However, so far Brocade and the named potential suitors aren’t talking about a potential sale.

In a report published Monday, the newspaper reported that Brocade had hung a “for sale” sign on its door and that HP and Oracle had shown interest in buying the San Jose, Calif. maker of switches and routers. Since then analysts have stepped forwarded with other names of potential suitors, including rival switch manufacturer Juniper Communications and storage giant EMC.

Brocade had a market cap of about $3.2 billion before the report broke, but since then its shares have surged on speculation of a bidding war. The company has about 2,800 employees and recorded sales of $1.5 billion in 2008.

Analysts say HP could be interested in purchasing Brocade as a means of allowing it to compete more effectively against Cisco for a bigger piece of data center deals. Cisco upset the market earlier this year when it decided to begin selling its own line of servers, moving into direct competition with such partners as HP, Dell and IBM.

Oracle has also been named as a potential suitor primarily because the company is in the midst of wrapping up its $7.4 billion purchase of Sun Microsystems, which has been a long-time partner of Brocade. Some of Sun’s network offerings include Brocade products.

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