Shares of Juniper Networks spiked Thursday following a report earlier this week that the troubled infrastructure vendor is up for sale.
Stock market news site Benzinga on Tuesday floated a report that Juniper has hired J.P. Morgan to help shop the company. Potential bidders include EMC, the Benzinga report said.
Neither Juniper nor EMC has commented. The rumor was enough to goose Juniper's stock by 9 percent in trading Thursday.
It isn't the first time EMC's been mentioned as a potential Juniper acquirer. Investment firm ISI Group earlier this month wrote that EMC should look at how Juniper's network infrastructure and security solutions would help EMC offer a fuller solution to large enterprises and service providers.
Any such acquisition would be a direct affront to EMC's strategic alliance with Cisco, however, seeing as Cisco and Juniper are bitter competitors in both service provider and enterprise networking and infrastructure.
Various analysts said this week that EMC buying Juniper is unlikely. Oppenheimer & Co. said in a note to subscribers that a telecom infrastructure player like Ericsson or a private equity firm would be a more likely suitor. Notes from researchers at Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and UBS also suggested a Juniper sale to EMC probably isn't in the offing.
Citigroup analyst Kevin Dennean writes: "While we have no direct insights into JNPR’s supposed hiring of an investment bank or supposed receipt of an offer to purchase the company, we definitively do not believe JNPR is shopping itself at this time. ... We don't see JNPR as a company in distress or facing the existential challenges/risks that would typically motivate a sale."
Juniper in early October confirmed plans to lay off about 500 employees, or 5 percent of its workforce, following the few hundred Juniper layoffs it mounted about a year ago. In a statement to CRN on Oct. 1, Juniper denied published reports that the bulk of its current job cuts would occur in its QFabric data center technology group.
Juniper's had several challenging quarters, most recently reporting a drop in revenue and substantial decline in profits in its fiscal second quarter. The company is scheduled to report third-quarter earnings on Oct. 23.
PUBLISHED OCT. 18, 2012