Juniper Partners 'Dumbfounded' By Nokia Acquisition Reports

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Juniper Networks partners say they are shocked by a report Thursday of Nokia eyeing an acquisition of Juniper, and that the move, should it pan out, wouldn't be a positive one for the channel.

"I would just be dumbfounded, unless it was some 'offer-they-can't-refuse' type of thing," said the president of one Juniper solution provider, who asked not to be named, of Nokia's reported interest in Juniper. "I would be shocked that Juniper would want to go down that path. At that point, in my mind, it would be all bets off. I could probably think of nine other people that it would make more sense [for Juniper] to be aligned with."

According to a report Thursday from German news publication Manager Magazin citing unnamed sources, Finland-based Nokia is reportedly plotting a move to acquire Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Juniper, in a bid to grow its own networking portfolio and strengthen its position in the U.S. market.

[Related: New CEO Kheradpir Lays Out Vision For Future Of Juniper Networks]

The report said that Rajeev Suri, chief executive of Nokia Solutions and Networks (NSN), the networking arm of Nokia, made a trip to the U.S. late in 2013 to meet with Juniper executives about a potential merger.

Juniper shares jumped nearly 3 percent Thursday on reports of the deal.

The president of the Juniper solution provider, who asked not to be named, said that any acquisition of Juniper at this time would come as a surprise, given the messaging he has heard from new Juniper CEO Shaygan Kheradpir and his sense, as a partner, that Juniper wants to "find a way to do this thing on their own."

"It's a mind-bender for me," the partner said, adding that, of all the companies he could see making a bid for Juniper, Nokia "certainly isn't one of them."

"Nokia is a big, international company and the problems that I have are that they are very handset-related, and when I think about Nokia, I think about somebody who has completely dropped the ball over a four- or five-year period," the partner said.

Both Nokia and Juniper declined CRN's request for comment, citing company policy of not commenting on "rumor or speculation."

The deal, should it pan out, would come as Nokia is set to close the blockbuster sale of its handset and devices business to Microsoft for $7.2 billion sometime next month.

NEXT: What Would Nokia Do With Juniper's Enterprise Business?

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