Channel onlookers have greeted speculation that Juniper Networks may be interested in acquiring wireless LAN (WLAN) specialists Meru and Aruba with surprise but have predicted more consolidation in the wireless space.
The Financial Times reported last week that inside sources had claimed new Juniper chief executive Kevin Johnson was interested in acquiring one of the two WLAN vendors. Johnson started his new role at the networking and security vendor this month, having previously been at Microsoft for 16 years.
Juniper splashed the cash in a big way several years ago with its acquisition of security vendor NetScreen for about $4bn (£2.3bn). Outgoing Juniper chief executive Scott Kriens indicated that his successor will be on the lookout for more acquisition opportunities.
Barrie Desmond, director at Juniper distributor VADition, said: “In terms of potential in the enterprise space, Juniper is finding it is limited by the breadth of its technology. Wireless is now reaching its tipping point.”
Jess Thompson-Hughes, managing director of Aruba distributor React Technologies, claimed the smaller, privately held Meru would be a more likely buyout target.
“Wireless is a burgeoning space and it is a space that Juniper is simply not in,” he said. “If Juniper were to come along with something embarrassingly large, it would be hard to turn it down.”
If an acquisition went ahead, it would join a recent spate of WLAN consolidation, including cabling firm Belden buying Trapeze and Colubris being snapped up by HP ProCurve.
Keith Humphreys, managing consultant at analyst EuroLAN, told CRN he anticipated more consolidation in the security and WLAN markets. “Meru and Aruba might be attractive for Juniper but I doubt we will see any acquisition,” he said. “Trapeze was on the market for two years and sold for a bargain price. If Juniper wanted to buy anybody, it would have bought Trapeze.”
A Juniper representative said the firm did not comment on rumours.
Automation firms UiPath and Automation Anywhere close out their funding rounds with $265m and $300m respectively
View photos of last night's awards ceremony in London
View photos of all the winners from the 2018 Channel Awards
After a glittering awards evening in Battersea celebrating 25 years of the Awards, we are pleased to share the list of winners and judges' commended winners