Rumour has it that Juniper wants a Wi-Fi vendor, and it's going to have to be a big one.
It's interesting that Juniper has a new CEO who favours acquisitions - Kevin Johnson apparently had a key role in Microsoft's attempt to buy Yahoo. and acquisition. In that respect, this has similarities to HP's acquisition of Colubris. which followed a change of leadership at HP Procurve.
Juniper needs a wireless LAN product - that's been obvious for at least three years. It has previously resold Colubris kit for its service provider customers, and it also invested in Trapeze Networks, recently bought by Belden.
Aruba and Meru are definitely the best targets. Both claim to be doing well against Cisco in the market. There are no other big wireless LAN switch vendors out there.
Of the two, Aruba is a safe bet, but more expensive. It's well established, it's had its IPO and is predicting around $230 million in annual revenue. Meru is cheaper, but possibly more of a risk, as its single-cell technology differs from the norm in wireless LANs. It's not a public company, and the FT quotes an analyst's estimate that it has around $80 million a year in revenue.
Neither is going to cost as much as Juniper's $4 billion purchase of Netscreen in 2004 - Netscreen had revenue of around $400 million a year. Aruba is currently valued around $434 million
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