Juniper eyeing Aruba, Meru?

Juniper out to boost its presence in enterprise networks through a wireless LAN offering.

Juniper is reportedly looking to buy either Aruba Networks or Meru Networks to strengthen its presence in enterprise networks through a formidable wireless LAN offering.

FT.com stated this week that new Juniper CEO Kevin Johnson, who started at the company this week, is on the M&A trail and that Aruba or Meru are in his sights. The story attributed its information to "a source familiar with the matter and two analysts."

Juniper has been gradually building up its enterprise arsenal after 2004's multibillion dollar acquisition of VPN and firewall leader NetScreen technologies.

Johnson came to Juniper from Microsoft where he played a key role in Microsoft's aborted attempt to buy Yahoo. Microsoft also has more than 11,000 Aruba access points installed.

Eric Suppiger, an analyst at investment firm Signal Hill, predicted Juniper will acquire either Aruba or Meru, but not both since they sell similar products, according to the FT.com report.

Juniper, Aruba and Meru declined to comment on the report.

Aruba sales in 2008 jumped US$50.8 million, a 40 percent increase over 2007 according to the fourth quarter and year-end 2008 results of the wireless LAN vendor.

Privately-held Meru has accumulated $96 million in venture funding since starting operations in 2002, according to the FT.com report.

The reports underscore the consolidation currently underway in the WLAN market. Most recently, Colubris was acquired by HP ProCurve last month.

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