Juniper Outbids Rival in M&A Swoop

A Brilliant move by the IP giant, for whom timing is everything...

Michelle Donegan, Contributing Editor, Light Reading

February 21, 2011

2 Min Read
Juniper Outbids Rival in M&A Swoop

In a dramatic M&A development, Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) has snatched timing and synchronization specialist Brilliant Telecommunications Inc. from the grasp of would-be buyer Symmetricom Inc. (Nasdaq: SYMM) in an all-cash acquisition for US$4.5 million. (See Juniper Acquires Brilliant.)

The IP networking giant announced Friday it had acquired certain assets of Brilliant, including all its intellectual property (IP), just days after Symmetricom issued a press release stating that it had entered into an agreement to buy certain assets of Brilliant, again including all its IP, for $3.5 million in cash.

Symmetricom's offer also included an additional $2.3 million in cash if certain milestones were hit within six months of the planned transaction.

Symmetricom's announcement of the acquisition agreement, dated Feb. 14, even included a quote from Brilliant's president and founder Dr. Charles Barry: "My team and I are very pleased to join Symmetricom to expand the company's communications market opportunities. The resulting technology suite will provide unmatched breadth and capability for high performance synchronization solutions."

But it appears that Juniper subsequently made Dr. Barry an offer he couldn't refuse. Juniper's deal was done and the transaction closed on Feb. 18. [Ed note: So someone from Juniper remembered to bring the check book to Mobile World Congress last week.]

Why this matters
The M&A tussle over Brilliant shows that the company, which was founded in 2004, has developed technology that's in hot demand. Specifically, its network timing, management and synchronization products will play a critical role for mobile operators as they continue to adopt all-IP in their transport networks.

For Juniper, the move indicates that the IP networking vendor is adding to its portfolio so that it can make a bigger push into mobile backhaul and IP networking for mobile operators.

In its press release about the acquisition, Juniper stated: "Brilliant Telecommunications’ intellectual property addresses the complex timing and synchronization requirements of today’s networks. It will enable Juniper to extend its market-leading position by delivering solutions that offer greater flexibility for service providers as they continue to deploy 3G and 4G networks."

For Symmetricom, apart from the embarrassment of being outbid by Juniper, the attraction to Brilliant could indicate a gap in its product portfolio that it wants to fill. A lingering question is: Where will Symmetricom find those assets now?

For more
Ethernet backhaul is an area where network timing and synchronization has been particularly complex and challenging.

  • Backhaul Timing: Anything But Synchronized

  • Timing the Test for Ethernet Backhaul

  • Extreme Runs Rings Around Backhaul

  • Extreme Beefs Up Backhaul

  • Mobile Backhaul Driving Carrier Ethernet Success

  • Juniper's Wireless Worry

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

About the Author(s)

Michelle Donegan

Contributing Editor, Light Reading

Michelle Donegan is an independent technology writer who has covered the communications industry on both sides of the Pond for the past twenty years.

Her career began in Chicago in 1993 when Telephony magazine launched an international title, aptly named Global Telephony. Since then, she has upped sticks (as they say) to the UK and has written for various publications, including Communications Week International, Total Telecom, Light Reading, Telecom Titans and more.

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