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Nokia Denies It's in Acquisition Talks With Juniper Networks

Juniper shares pare gains they saw on CNBC report of potential deal negotiations

Ian King (Bloomberg) -- Nokia Oyj denied that it’s in acquisition talks with Juniper Networks Inc., after a CNBC report said the Finnish company was preparing a $16 billion offer for the network-equipment maker.

“Nokia is not currently in talks with, nor is it preparing an offer for, Juniper Networks related to an acquisition of that company,” the telecommunications company said in a statement late Wednesday New York time.

Juniper shares, which had jumped as much as 25 percent in extended trading based on the report, pared almost all those gains after Nokia’s statement. A representative for Sunnyvale, California-based Juniper had earlier declined to comment on the CNBC report.

Like larger rival Cisco Systems Inc., Juniper is struggling for growth as the market for networking equipment shifts away from combinations of custom hardware and software. Companies such as Inc.’s web services division and Alphabet Inc.’s Google are increasingly building their own hardware, which is limiting the overall market for products from traditional suppliers such as Juniper.

Unlike Cisco, Juniper doesn’t have the cash to make acquisitions that would help it add capabilities better suited to the changing market, RBC Capital Markets analyst Mitch Steves wrote in a note following the CNBC report. Juniper reported a 2 percent decline in revenue in its most recent quarter, which Chief Executive Officer Rami Rahim called disappointing.

Nokia, for its part, last month predicted a prolonged slump in the wireless-equipment industry as its mobile network customers slow purchases on machinery needed for current systems and the wait begins for them to shift to 5G infrastructure spending.

Nokia Chairman Risto Siilasmaa, in an interview in Helsinki Thursday, referred questions about Juniper to Nokia’s earlier statement, and said purchases still remain part of the company’s future.

“If you want to make it in this changing world, you can’t lie still,” Siilasmaa said at the Slush startup event. “We will continue to move forward as we have done this far and acquisitions are a part of that.”

TAGS: Business
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