Wall Street analysts and journalists are having a field day with reports that EMC (NYSE: EMC) is looking for a merger partner.

One analyst says a Cisco-EMC marriage makes sense with VMware as a wedding gift. EMC owns 80 percent of VMware.

Meanwhile, Forbes says an EMC-HP deal “would have been a disaster.”

If an EMC-Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) deal were to happen, the marriage would unite two tech giants with a huge presence in the Triangle.

Wrote Rajesh Ghai of Macquarie Research:

“Considering a CSCO-EMC merger has potentially strong synergy (insignificant overlap, complementary product lines, strong share gain potential for CSCO in Storage), the chance for CSCO to put the declarative vs. imperative SDN debate with VMW to rest (by owning both flavors de-facto) and assume leadership of the growing Software Defined DataCenter market (via ownership of VMW and to some extent EMC’s VIPr), we believe CSCO has the potential to offer EMC a much better deal than any other potential bidder.

“We also see defensive reasons for Cisco to merge with EMC. While we acknowledge these synergies have existed in the past and CSCO has shown above-average interest in owning VMW (but not EMC) and EMC has held on to VMW steadfastly in the past, this time things may be different considering CSCO may perceive VMW in the hands of an HPQ as a bigger threat.

“We also believe with Chambers and Tucci coming to the ends of their storied careers may see this move as a way to exit in a “blaze of glory” – a 2 for 1 stock deal potentially.”

Tiernan Ray of Barron’s reported on Ghai’s research note.

The EMC speculation broke over the weekend in a report from The Wall Street Journal, which said EMC was talking quite seriously with HP for a long while.

Questions at Forbes

At Forbes, Ben Kepes criticized an HP-EMC deal.

The headline: “An aborted deal that would have been a disaster …”

“Under the proposal, Current HP CEO Meg Whitman would have become CEO of the combined company, while EMC EMC +1.15% boss Joe Tucci would have been President. According to the report, the deal fell apart because both companies had concerns over whether their respective shareholders would have approved it,” Kepes wrote.

Both companies face their own “threats” – HP in computers and hardware, EMC in the move away from proprietary storage to the “cloud.”

“So if you’re a couple of old legacy vendors, it might be appealing to find solace in each other. And it seems that was the idea here. Forgotten was the myriad ways in which HP and EMC compete for business, this was a planned marriage of convenience,” Kepes concluded.

Another View

Barron’s Ray found another analyst who wonders why HP would consider the deal since HP’s boss Meg Whitman “had seemed to shy away from any large deals.”

Wrote Toni Sacconaghi of Bernstein Research:

“HP’s advanced discussions with EMC are arguably a worrisome reflection of its prospects, particularly since the company’s recent large acquisitions (EDS and Autonomy) have been disastrous and because the company has indicated that it would unlikely pursue large deals going forward. Moreover, given that HP appears to have nearly purchased Rackspace in June/July, the two sets of merger discussions suggest that CEO Whitman may increasingly feel the need to “do something big,” likely to boost revenue growth, as cost cuts run their course.”

So as analysts and bloggers speculate about an EMC wedding with someone, what must its thousands of employees be thinking?