Elliott Seeks Greater Influence in Juniper Networking Business
The company and the major investor are discussing adding Elliott-suggested people to the vendor's board of directors, according to a report.Activist investor Elliott Management reportedly is continuing to push its agenda at Juniper Networks. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Juniper executives are considering adding new directors to its board to address a demand from Elliott officials, who have recommended several new director candidates. Juniper has begun evaluating the proposed candidates, though the report said it is unclear who will be named to the 11-member board, or how many new directors will be appointed. The move also could help Juniper avoid a proxy fight, according to the Wall Street Journal, which quoted unnamed sources. Elliott's goal is to bring a wider range of industry experience to the board, and may also begin to pressure Juniper directors to consider selling the company, which the newspaper said has a market value of more than $9 billion. The report comes at the end of a difficult year for Juniper, which in January became a focus of Elliott officials, who went public with demands for the networking equipment vendor to shore up its business and return more money to shareholders. In a statement and presentation, the investment firm urged Juniper officials to re-evaluate its switching and routing businesses, slow down on buying other companies, cut expenses by $200 million and buy back $3.5 billion worth of stock.
Elliott's demands came just as new CEO Shaygan Kheradpir took the reins. A month later, Kheradpir announced a new operating plan designed to accelerate growth and increase shareholder value, focus more of the company's efforts in such areas as networks for cloud environments, and reduce the percentage of revenues that were being spent on R&D. The CEO also said he wanted to return $3 billion to investors.