Juniper Jumps on Nokia Takeover Buzz

Shares of Juniper Networks (NASDAQ:JNPR) enjoyed a 3% bounce Thursday morning following a report indicating Nokia (NYSE:NOK) is considering making a play for the U.S. networking-gear maker.

According to Germany’s Manager Magazin, Nokia is exploring an acquisition of Juniper to merge it with its Nokia Siemens Network division.

NSN CEO Rajeev Suri traveled with colleagues to the U.S. late last year to explore options with Juniper’s management, the report said.

Both Juniper and Nokia declined to comment on "rumor or speculation."

It’s not clear if Nokia has enough financial firepower to successfully acquire Juniper, which entered Thursday with a market cap of almost $14 billion, compared with Nokia’s market value of $27 billion. However, Nokia may be able to use Juniper’s own cash balance of $3.1 billion to finance a bid, the German magazine reported.

The M&A buzz comes after Nokia agreed to sell its devices business to Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) last year for $7.3 billion. NSN also reportedly held talks with Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE:ALU) over a possible deal, but those conversations fizzled.

Shares of Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Juniper jumped 2.94% to $28.00 Thursday morning, leaving them up 24% so far this year. Nokia dipped 0.14% to $7.26.