Big Blue is now understood to be in advanced talks to take over network security vendor Fortinet, which was worth $2.14bn (£1.3bn) at close of play on Friday.
In its most recent set of numbers, Fortinet posted sales of $85m, up 29% year-on-year, and GAAP net profits of $14m, almost double the figure booked in the year-ago quarter.
UTM specialist Fortinet only went public a year ago, and is planning significant investment in its sales and support infrastructure, according to CFO Ken Goldman.
IBM boss Sam Palmisano, meanwhile, has pledged to spend up to $20bn on acquisitions to fill gaps in his portfolio, in common with rivals such as HP, which has also spent heavily in recent months.
Neither IBM nor Fortinet had yet offered comment on the talks at the time of going to press.