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What Should Juniper Cut? How About Junos Pulse?

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What Should Juniper Cut? How About Junos Pulse?

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Most people expect Juniper to sell off some of its non-core businesses, and Junos Pulse has emerged as a possibility, according to a Reuters report today.

Announced in 2009, Junos Pulse is software that sits on a mobile client and can be the mobile operator’s conduit for providing security services, as well as services related to subscriber identity or location.

It’s easy to see how that might not fit the Juniper that CEO Shaygan Kheradpir wants to build. From what we’ve seen and heard, the emphasis is on higher-end business and a return to Juniper’s roots in carrier infrastructure. Junos Pulse is carrier-focused, but compared with, say, routers, it doesn’t seem as good a fit for “high IQ networks” — Kheradpir’s favored term for Juniper’s target market.

Sources told Reuters that Junos Pulse would likely be valued at “hundreds of millions of dollars” in a sale.

Kheradpir’s vision ought to appease the Elliott Management and Jana Partners, the hedge funds that have been dogging Juniper to cut costs and return cash to shareholders. (Sort of related: Riverbed is likewise being prodded by Elliott, which today reaffirmed a $21-per-share offer to buy that company.)

Juniper is already cutting about 6 percent of its workforce, and analysts assume the company will cut or sell some of its businesses, too, particularly businesses catering to enterprise customers.

Analysts like what they’ve seen since Kheradpir took over in January.

“Although we see timing and execution risks, we see promise in the Juniper strategy to evolve to software-centric networks,” writes analyst Simon Leopold of Raymond James, in a report issued last week. “This will be a year of transition, and we expect much of the focus will be on the company’s ability to deliver on the IOP [Kheradpir's integrated operating plan] without disrupting the business.”

Disruption is certainly a possibility as businesses get sold (assuming that eventually happens), but there’s also potential for Juniper to get tangled up in its own software-defined networking (SDN) plans.

“Juniper’s revamped software-defined networking strategy branded as the MetaFabric sounds very intriguing to us; however, we think the transition has created internal conflict and customer confusion,” Leopold writes.

On an optimistic note, Leopold is predicting $1.159 billion in revenues for Juniper’s March quarter, which is higher than the $1.149 billion average. (Juniper itself predicted $1.12 billion to $1.16 billion.) Juniper plans to announce earnings on April 22.

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