Light Reading
What should Juniper be trying to buy?

Valley Wonk: Juniper's Shopping List

Column
Column
Column
2/24/2005
50%
50%

Nothing beats spending somebody else's money, and in that spirit, the industry has been happy to do Juniper Networks Inc.'s (Nasdaq: JNPR) shopping this past year. Every month or so, a new rumor makes the rounds about what the company will acquire next (see Juniper's Slow Shopping Trip ).

One Wall Street visitor at Juniper's recent analyst day had a good solution. "You know what you should do?" the analyst told Juniper execs. "Just buy something, just to shut everybody up."

It's not a bad plan. Clandestinely set up two guys in a garage, take their picture next to a blinky-lights box that says "Layer 4-7 Ethernet Wireless Security" on the side, and announce the acquisition of AirEther4-7 Inc. – for an undisclosed sum, natch. Poof! Every merger rumor comes true at once.

CEO Scott Kriens went for the humor tactic instead, opening the analyst meeting with a joke about a hostile takeover of Oracle (see The Price Is Right for PeopleSoft if you don't get it). But that was it, and it left analysts to keep obsessing about the acquisition thing.

One source claims Juniper has three acquisitions on its wish list: something in Ethernet, a technology to "fill a hole" (presumably wireless), and a "mid-market" company. Our guess is that the last one is a place-holder for the budget.

Luckily, the most plausible merger rumors fall into three categories. So, let's run with the idea: Where should Juniper's merger scouts be looking, if they aren't already?

Ethernet switch
Yes, Kriens hates the idea (see Juniper Spikes M&A Rumors). But it isn't going away, because many believe Juniper can't succeed in the enterprise without matching Cisco Systems Inc.'s (Nasdaq: CSCO) breadth of product. That means Juniper needs an Ethernet switch to sell alongside its routers.

The problem is the lack of easy – or cheap – candidates. Force10 Networks Inc. is the only private company that seems likely, and it's going to be too expensive, mostly because the VCs, who have pumped hundreds of millions into it, want to see either top-dollar or an IPO(see Force10 Networks). That leaves Extreme Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: EXTR) and Foundry Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: FDRY), both public and expensive – market caps of $770 million and $1.4 billion, respectively. Sources have said Juniper pinged Foundry on the idea last year but got rebuffed by Foundry CEO Bobby Johnson.

Juniper probably does want a hand in this market but doesn't like any aspect of it. To defray the high acquisition costs, maybe Juniper should just build its own stuff. A chip acquisition would be cheaper than an Extreme buy. Or, Juniper could just use off-the-shelf chips as the basis for Ethernet switching cards.

But this still doesn't solve the margins problem. Given the lack of easy options, Juniper might be best off stepping into a reseller role, offering Ethernet switches through a partner.

Wireless
Wasn't this a hot topic a month ago? Once Cisco grabbed Airespace Inc., everyone expected Juniper to dive for a wireless LAN switch company. And in fact, Juniper reportedly put in a bid for Aruba Wireless Networks and talked to the less expensive Trapeze Networks Inc. (see Sources: Juniper Eyeing Trapeze).

Merger talk seems to have died down here. The companies here are cheaper than the Ethernet choices, but some might be seeking better options while WLAN is still a hot topic. Aruba, in particular, might have its eye on going public.

And again, margins might be a factor. Wireless LAN switching is a separate appliance for now, but it's going to become just another feature inside a switch or router. That means the WLAN switch's future is one of cost-cutting and integration, with chips and software already emerging to help things along (see Broadcom Integrates WLAN Switch and NextHop Reveals WLAN Plan).

Wireless might end up being another reseller category for Juniper. That would give the company a WLAN story for the moment while developing its own WLAN switch-on-a-card for later.

Layers 4-7 processing
Higher-layer processing presents better margins than Ethernet or WLAN, and plenty of startups are working on this technology, presenting lots of options. It's no wonder this has become the latest pet theory.

The logic goes deeper, too. This technology would make a nice extension to NetScreen and to the Infranet Initiative, a Juniper-supported effort to drive standards for a more intelligent public network (see Juniper Buys NetScreen and Juniper's Infranet Takes Baby Steps). And Kriens keeps talking big about traffic processing, saying it's central to Juniper's role in the network.

Juniper officials point out that they already have this stuff. But Cisco is amassing some new tricks with technology acquired from the likes of P-Cube (see Cisco Plucks P-Cube for $200M and Cisco Rules L4-L7 Switch Market). Juniper ought to counter.

F5 Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: FFIV) gets held up as the example here, but plenty of others could be had for cheaper, including NetScaler Inc., Peribit Networks Inc., and Radware Ltd. (Nasdaq: RDWR). Not to bias the judges, but NetScaler happens to be one of Light Reading's top picks to get acquired or go public – and it occupies that coveted No. 10 spot on our Top Ten Private Companies list.

Given the options, it doesn't look as if Juniper will go through with three acquisitions -- not from this pool, anyway. A Layers 4-7 buy looks like a slam dunk, but the company has to make some tough decisions in Ethernet and wireless.

In the end, it seems clear that Juniper is set on trying to create a new kind of enterprise company, one that delivers a higher-performance network.

The other option? If Juniper holds off long enough, it could just be another enterprise vendor with some gaping holes in its portfolio.

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading

(2)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
light-headed
50%
50%
light-headed,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:25:34 AM
re: Valley Wonk: Juniper's Shopping List
ME. I am available for 30-50M, make a mean cup of chai and have all my original teeth. If they were to acquire me I could hang around the Matilda Campus and be clever. I promise to say things like:

"Gee Pradeep, you are A GENIUS"

"Yes, Yakov, I think that home appliances should be run off of BGP4 with new extensions"

"Scott, you really don't need a switch company"

"Cisco is a really bad company and they are mean people too!"

"I want an Infranet in my home network."

and more... think of it juniper, this could put you over the top. Any juniper representatives can contact me at CoolDude@BestAcquistion.com
ironccie
50%
50%
ironccie,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:25:21 AM
re: Valley Wonk: Juniper's Shopping List
Sounds like Foundry would solve all of Juniper's problems? If only Foundry had something that could do MPLS better than the T640 and a better IPS/SSL VPN solution than Juniper, it sounds like Foundry would be better than Juniper?

IronCCIE
More Blogs from Column
Defining SDN realistically will help carriers cut through the hype, says Sunil Khandekar, CEO of Alcatel-Lucent's Nuage Networks.
They can go from also-rans to leaders -- if they don't mess up.
The benefits of SDN are hard to grasp because they're so big. But NFV provides a nice, finite-value proposition.
Intensive end-to-end test and measurement is essential to ensure the smooth rollout of new services like VoLTE.
European Union roaming regulations are opening the doorway to an enhanced consumer experience and higher market growth.
Flash Poll
LRTV Custom TV
A New Security Paradigm in SDN/NFV

7|28|14   |   02:54   |   (0) comments


Paul Shaneck, Global Director Network Solutions for Symantec, discusses the evolving virtualized network, explaining how Symantec is leading the security discussion as it relates to SDN and NFV, and helping to ensure the network is protected and compliant.
LRTV Documentaries
Sprint's Network Evolution

7|24|14   |   14:59   |   (0) comments


Sprint's Jay Bluhm gives a keynote speech at the Big Telecom Event (BTE) about Sprint's network and services evolution strategy, including Spark.
LRTV Documentaries
BTE Keynote: The Software-Defined Operator

7|24|14   |   18:43   |   (1) comment


Deutsche Telekom's Axel Clauberg explains the concept of the software-defined operator to the Big Telecom Event (BTE) crowd.
Light Reedy
Numbers Are In: LR's 2014 Salary Survey

7|24|14   |   1:25   |   (7) comments


Our fourth annual Salary Survey paints a picture of who's hiring, firing, earning, and yearning for a change in the telecom industry.
LRTV Custom TV
Driving the Network Transformation

7|23|14   |   4:29   |   (0) comments


Intel's Sandra Rivera discusses network transformation and how Intel technologies, programs, and standards body efforts have helped the industry migration to SDN and NFV.
LRTV Custom TV
Distributed NFV-Based Business Services by RAD

7|18|14   |   5:38   |   (0) comments


With the ETSI-approved Distributed NFV PoC running in the background, RAD's CEO, Dror Bin, talks about why D-NFV makes compelling sense for service providers, and about the dollars and cents RAD is putting behind D-NFV.
LRTV Custom TV
MRV – Accelerating Packet Optical Convergence

7|15|14   |   6:06   |   (0) comments


Giving you network insight to make your network smarter.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV-Enabled Ethernet for Generating New Revenues

7|15|14   |   5:49   |   (0) comments


Cyan's Planet Orchestrate allows service providers and their end-customers to activate software-based capabilities such as firewalls and encryption on top of existing Ethernet services in just minutes.
LRTV Custom TV
Symkloud NVF-Ready Video Transcoding, Big Data

7|9|14   |   3:41   |   (0) comments


Kontron and ISV partner Vantrix demonstrate high-performance video transcoding and data analytic solutions on same 2U standard platform that is ready for SDN and NFV deployments made by mobile, cable and cloud operators.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Evolving Role of Hybrid Video for Competitive Success

7|4|14   |   4:09   |   (0) comments


At Huawei's Global Analysts Summit in Shenzhen, China, Steven C. Hawley from TV Strategies speaks to us about the evolving role of hybrid video for competitive success.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
How CSPs Leverage Big Data in the Digital Economy

7|4|14   |   4:48   |   (2) comments


Justin van der Lande from Analysys Mason shares with us his views on how telecom operators can leverage customer asset monetization with big data. His discusses the current status of big data applications and the challenges and opportunities for telecom operators in the digital economy era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accelerator for Digital Business – Future Oriented BSS

7|4|14   |   3:08   |   (0) comments


Mobile and internet are becoming intertwined; IT and CT are integrating; and leading CSPs have begun to transform to information service and entertainment providers. How should the BSS system evolve to enable this transformation? Karl Whitelock, an analyst at Frost & Sullivan, shares his views.
Upcoming Live Events!!
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
Packet Design asks network professionals how they handle the cloud, SDN, and network management.
Today's Cartoon
Vacation Special Caption Competition Click Here
Latest Comment
Hot Topics
Is Windstream Boldly Setting a New Trend?
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 7/29/2014
Sprint, T-Mobile: The Price War's On
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 7/30/2014
Pics From Comic-Con -- Honest!
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 7/30/2014
If Not Muni Networks, Then What?
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 7/28/2014
Verizon Applies 3G Throttling Policy to LTE
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 7/25/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed