Speculation was rife in the telecoms industry in Thursday that Nokia will seek to acquire Juniper Networks in a bid to bulk up its networks business once Microsoft has taken control of its mobile phone operations.
Rajiv Suri, chief executive of the Finnish vendor's Nokia Solutions and Networks (NSN) division and the bookies' favourite to take over as group CEO, travelled to the U.S. to meet with Juniper management late last year, Germany's Manager Magazin reported. Suri's mission was to deepen NSN's existing sales cooperation with Juniper and to explore the possibility of a merger, the magazine's sources said.
The companies in question have made no formal comment. However, an unnamed Reuters source told the newswire that no such deal is imminent.
Nonetheless, it is hardly surprising that Nokia is constantly at the centre of merger speculation.
The €5.44 billion sale of its mobile phones business to Microsoft is due to close this quarter. That divestment leaves Nokia with NSN, its Here mapping business and a patents portfolio; based on Q4 2013 numbers, NSN will account for 89% of post-devices Nokia's revenues.
Bulking up NSN makes sense, particularly by adding some strength in the U.S. Last year there was talk of a merger with Alcatel-Lucent, but according to Manager Magazin, negotiations between the pair failed because they could not agree on who would lead a merged entity. Juniper might just be the next logical step for NSN.
The vendor might have something to say on the matter at Mobile World Congress next week. We'll keep you posted if so.
There has also been talk that parent company Nokia will use the event to name its new leader.
Stephen Elop stepped down when the handset sale was announced and will move to Microsoft when the deal closes. Risto Siilasmaa is currently acting CEO.