HPE said to be moving in on $13B deal for Juniper Networks

Networking kit maker would be biggest potential acquisition since Autonomy – but hopefully goes better than that

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) is in the late stages of talks to buy California networking hardware maker Juniper Networks for $13 billion, according to reports.

The deal – which would be HPE's biggest acquisition since Autonomy in 2011 and EDS in 2008 – could be announced as early as this week, the Wall Street Journal reported.

In addition to selling network hardware including routers and switches, Juniper Networks also operates Mist Systems and its Mist AI platform, a competitor to Cisco Meraki and HPE's Aruba's Edge Services Platform. Buying Juniper, and consequently Mist, would bolster HPE's offshoot's AI segment.

Why would HPE buy Juniper, The Next Platform asks: Read more analysis here.

Earlier this month, HPE CEO Antonio Neri said AI's impact on enterprises could not be "overstated." Neri pitched an "AI native" strategy for the company as a method to remain relevant.

During a keynote at HPE's Discover event in Barcelona, Neri predictably referred to AI as "the most disruptive technology of our lifetime."

Now might not be a bad time for HPE to reinforce its networking armory, after it reported a dramatic decline of 31 percent year-on-year in server revenues - its largest division - in Q4 of its fiscal 2023. The Intelligent Edge networking unit was one of the areas where HPE grew sales, up 40 percent year-on-year, as was the AI and HPC unit grew 37 percent.

Juniper Networks CEO Rami Rahim said in the company's latest earnings call [PDF] that revenue from the Mystified segment, which includes Mist AI, "had a record quarter, growing by nearly 100 percent year-over-year in the Q3 time frame."

"Our Mystified orders also achieved a notable milestone in Q3, surpassing a $1 billion run rate on an annualized basis less than four years after crossing the $100 million run rate milestone in Q4 2019," he added.

In October, Juniper Networks let go of 440 staff as part of a restructuring plan that it said would "focus on realigning resources and investments in long-term growth opportunities."

Those layoffs seemed to focus on IT, engineering and sales roles.

The Register approached HPE and Juniper Networks for comment and will update if a substantial reply materializes. ®

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