UK regulator launches investigation into proposed Juniper acquisition by HPE

UK regulator launches investigation into proposed Juniper acquisition by HPE

Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is investigating Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s (HPE) proposed 14 billion dollar (about 13 billion euros) acquisition of Juniper Networks, announced in January. The regulator wants to know whether the deal between the U.S. companies complies with national regulations in the United Kingdom and does not unduly disrupt market forces there.

It concerns a probe, a preliminary investigation to be completed by August 14, according to Reuters. Before that date, the CMA will determine whether a more in-depth investigation is needed. HPE’s acquisition of Juniper Networks aims to increase its AI capabilities and double its network operations to avoid being left behind in the AI race. Despite the CMA’s investigation, HPE expects to complete the planned acquisition in late 2024 or early 2025.

The acquisition of market leader Juniper by another market leader (albeit partly in a different field) caused quite a stir. A shareholder sued Juniper, alleging the company’s management misrepresented the facts surrounding the intended acquisition.

Tip: HPE and Juniper take aim at Cisco with network fabric

Mist as a diamond in the crown

The most obvious reason why HPE is interested in Juniper Networks is the presence of Mist in its portfolio. Mist Systems, as the company was called before its acquisition by Juniper in 2019, has had profound impact on Juniper. After all, prior to this acquisition, Juniper had no access points in its portfolio. Attempts to do so through partnerships with Ruckus, Aerohive and others did not really succeed.

Indeed, Mist’s management layer was a lot more modern than what players such as Aruba but also Cisco (Catalyst and Meraki) could offer. In particular, the platform built on microservices was already very far along in deploying AI in this environment. Thanks to AIOps, it is possible to set up, manage and generally operate (large) networks much more efficiently. 

Also read: HPE acquires Juniper: surprising, but makes quite a bit of sense