Update: Nokia Denies Reports of Juniper Deal

Craig Matsumoto
News Analysis
Craig Matsumoto, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading
11/29/2017



UPDATE: Nokia's press office has issued a formal denial of a CNBC report that it is negotiating a possible $16 billion acquisition of Juniper.

The email statement notes that Nokia doesn't usually comment on market rumors but is making an exception in this case, "given the specificity of press reports related to a potential acquisition of Juniper Networks." It then goes on to say that "Nokia is not currently in talks with, nor is it preparing an offer for, Juniper Networks related to an acquisition of that company."

The CNBC report, based on unnamed sources, claimed a deal was in the works that would value Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) at a 42% premium, as the company was valued at $11.1 billion when the US stock market closed today, CNBC reported.

Juniper shares shot up 18% at $35 in after-hours trading following the report.

Any deal would follow up the Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent, which closed in early 2016 and was valued at closer to $17 billion. That purchase netted Nokia a telecom equipment franchise including optical networking, switching and routing. The addition of Juniper would bolster the switching and routing part of that equation.

That would apparently set up Nokia to go head to head against the big acquisition that didn't happen, namely Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC). Those companies never officially tried to get together, but there was speculation that their ambitious partnership would lead to merger talks, creating a company -- well, a company along the lines of a potential Nokia-Juniper tie-up. (See Ericsson CEO: Cisco Merger Not On the Cards and Cisco & Ericsson Hone Their Partnership.)

Juniper has not commented officially on the story yet.

Juniper of late has been trying to rev its innovative engines, bringing in a new CTO from Google in Bikash Koley and focusing on key initiatives such as automation, intent-based network and operating a distributed cloud architecture. But the company admitted in October that it isn't getting the expected revenues from the cloud market and its third-quarter revenues would be down.

Speculation at that time was that Arista Networks Inc. and other rivals had beaten Juniper to the punch with major cloud service provider customers. (See Juniper's Q3 Sags as Cloud Business Dips.)

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Craig Matsumoto, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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