Juniper to buy Belden

Juniper Networks Inc. is expected to soon announce that it is acquiring wireless LAN player Trapeze Networks from parent company Belden Inc. in a move that will expand Juniper’s enterprise portfolio.

According to several sources from the wireless LAN arena, Juniper could announce the deal within the next two weeks. Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Juniper is scheduled to host an analyst day Thursday, Sept. 23, and it usually reserves major announcements for that event.

Juniper said it would not comment on rumour or speculation. Belden, a Richmond, Indiana-based cabling systems manufacturer, did not comment by press time.

The sources, who requested anonymity, work at Trapeze competitors and said they too were scrutinized by Juniper before Juniper selected Trapeze, based in Pleasonton, Calif.

“Juniper about three months ago brought every WLAN vendor in to evaluate fit, technology, markets, etc.  We were one of them,” one source said. “Then we heard from three independent sources that the decision had been made to purchase Trapeze from Belden who has been struggling to make use of their stuff.”

Belden acquired privately-held Trapeze in 2008 for US$133 million in cash to add a controller-based WLAN product line to its existing copper and fibre-optic cabling, cable management and connectivity products. Belden attempted to position itself as a supplier of unified wired and wireless products buts sources say Belden has done little to capitalize on the acquisition.

Trapeze was one of a pack of start-ups that pioneered the concept of the “wireless LAN switch,” linking with so-called thin access points to centrally control and secure WLANs, and allow clients to roam seamlessly. It’s share of the $1.6 billion enterprise market in 2009 was 2.2 per cent, according to Dell’Oro Group, trailing Cisco Systems Inc., Aruba, Motorola Inc., Hewlett Packard Develompent Co. LP, Meru Networks Inc. and Alcatel-Lucent.

At the time of the Belden acquisition, Trapeze said it had $56 million in 2007 revenues and 4,000 customers. Those products also were sold under OEM agreements to 3Com Corp. (which has since been acquired by HP), Enterasys Networks Inc., and Nortel Networks Corp.

In April 2008, Trapeze introduced a two-radio 802.11n access point and a new high-end WLAN controller for large-scale wireless networks. Trapeze also acquired Newbury Networks, a maker of WLAN-based location systems, in 2008.

Additional reporting by John Cox


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