UK probes HPE’s planned $14B Juniper Networks acquisition

The U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has initiated a formal “phase 1” investigation into Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s (HPE) planned acquisition of Juniper Networks.

HPE announced plans to acquire Juniper Networks back in January, a deal designed to unify their respective strengths in the networking and IT infrastructure realm, spanning servers, storage, consulting, routing, switching, and security. As with just about every mega deal today, a major motivation behind the merger was — in corporate parlance — to “accelerate AI-driven innovation,” given the critical role that cloud infrastructure plays in the burgeoning AI movement.

At the time, HPE said it would pay $40 a share, representing a 32% premium over the most recent closing price — amounting to a total value of $14 billion. A deal of this magnitude was always likely to attract some regulatory scrutiny, and as such the CMA has said that it’s in the early stages of assessing whether the deal is likely to “result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services.”

For now, the CMA is inviting comments from relevant stakeholders, with a deadline set for July 3. The CMA will then have until August 14 to decide whether to progress the investigation to a formal “phase 2” inquiry.

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