Nokia Corporation said Thursday it isn't in the process of taking any steps to acquire American networking equipment manufacturer Juniper Networks, nor is it planning to do so going forward. The Espoo, Finland-based communications giant acknowledged its usual company policy of not commenting on market rumors but decided to make an exception due to "the specificity of press reports" on the matter that emerged Wednesday. The original report of a merger between the two being in the making was authored by CNBC who cited several sources with supposed knowledge of the matter. Juniper itself declined to comment on the story when approached by several media outlets yesterday, citing a corporate policy of refraining from entertaining market speculation similar to the one usually employed by Nokia.
The Sunnyvale, California-based firm also had little motivation to outright deny the rumor since CNBC's report was picked up on a global level and prompted its stock to spike by 18 percent before ending the day two percentage points up in after-hours trading, being valued at $29.61. The company's stock is likely to additionally decline once trading in New York starts at 9:30 AM PST and is expected to return to hovering around the $17 mark. With CNBC's original sources remaining unnamed, it's unclear whether they have a proven track record of reliability, though the chances of Nokia bluffing about not being interested in an acquisition remain extremely slim as they'd be without true precedent in the history of the 152-year-old company.
Nokia's last major acquisition came in the form of a $16.6 billion purchase of Alcatel-Lucent, with the firm now placing a stronger focus on the fifth generation of mobile networks and industries set to be boosted by 5G, especially the Internet of Things segment. While a takeover of Juniper would fall in line with such a strategy, some analysts remain skeptical whether Nokia would be able to conclude such a transaction without making a significant long-term gamble; with its last several financial reports being met with mixed responses at best, funding an acquisition of a company with a market cap north of $11 billion so soon after the Alcatel-Lucent purchase would possibly be a significant challenge for the firm. Nokia's business is expected to return to growth once wider 5G deployment encompassing many parts of the world starts in 2020.