Britain is investigating HPE's planned $14 billion takeover of Juniper Networks

Britain is investigating HPE’s planned $14 billion takeover of Juniper Networks, The British Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has done this initiated a formal “Phase 1” investigation into the planned acquisition of Juniper Networks by Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE).

The CMA said it is in the early stages of assessing whether the deal is likely “to result in a substantial reduction of competition in any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services.”

HPE announced plans to acquire Juniper Networks in January 2024, a deal intended to unify their respective strengths in networking and IT infrastructure, including servers, storage, consulting, routing, switching and security. As with virtually every megadeal these days, a key motivation behind the merger was – in corporate speak – to “accelerate AI-driven innovation,” given the critical role cloud infrastructure plays in the fast-growing AI movement.

At the time, HPE said it would pay $40 per share, representing a 32% premium to the most recent closing price – for a total value of $14 billion.

A deal of this size was always going to attract the attention of regulators, and Britain is the first jurisdiction to show its hand, although it’s likely the European Commission will at least look at the deal, while the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the US may also raise concerns. Meanwhile, Brazilian regulators gave unconditional approval to the deal in May.

Regulatory roadblocks could hamper potential deals in the works. Adobe was forced to pull the plug on its $20 billion bid for Figma last year, following opposition in both the EU and the United Kingdom.

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

We’ve reached out to HPE for comment and will update this post as we learn more.

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