Nokia 'not currently' talking about nor arranging Juniper buy

Note the 'currently' because something just made the Gin Palace's shares pop 20 per cent

Nokia Networks has denied a rumour that it's planning to make an offer for Juniper Networks.

The possibility that the European vendor might slurp the Gin Palace was floated by unnamed sources who spoke to CNBC. Those sources said Nokia would offer US$16 billion.

Since that's well over Juniper's current market capitalisation of $11.2 billion, Juniper's shares shot up by 20 per cent after hours.

Nokia's one-sentence response offered the following comment:

Nokia is not currently in talks with, nor is it preparing an offer for, Juniper Networks related to an acquisition of that company.

Note the "not currently", as it's a couplet that suggests Nokia may have pursued a deal in the past, or contemplated doing so in future.

Whatever the company is up to, acquiring Juniper would be brave because buyers have become less interested in big routers from any vendor.

Juniper's felt that for years, and shed a CEO in late 2014 thanks to indifferent results. The company later attributed the departure to sales misses with major customers Verizon and Barclays. Juniper also attracted the attention of “activist investor” Elliott Management.

CEO since 2014, Rami Rahim, worked on turning things around and developing a survival strategy in a work where routers are increasingly open code running on white-box servers.

The company's latest quarter was hit by what Juniper said was a delayed deal, and there was more bad news last week, when major customer AT&T announced it wanted to eliminate a staggering 100,000 routers and buy software-defined white boxen in future.

Last year, Nokia completed its €15.6 billion acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent.

Nokia has been battered by the same market conditions as Juniper. Its Alcatel-Lucent purchase was followed by an earnings dip, and it turned in a billion-Euro loss for full year 2016. It attributed both results in part to a slump in its "Ultra Broadband" line of carrier kit. ?


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