The federal government has cleared router maker Juniper's ( JNPR) purchase of Internet security outfit Netscreen ( NSCN). The companies, which
agreed to merge last month in a $3.3 billion stock swap, said the government ended its antitrust review of the deal Tuesday. The companies have scheduled April 16 shareholder meetings to vote on the agreement, which observers say could create a more formidable competitor to networking titan Cisco ( CSCO). The Feb. 9 announcement of Juniper's agreement to buy Netscreen sent Netscreen shares higher and resulted in a daylong rout of Juniper, which had been one of investors' 2004 tech favorites. Even at current levels, however, Juniper remains 200% above its year-ago price. Shares in both companies declined ahead of the news Tuesday. Juniper dropped 39 cents to $24.40, and Netscreen lost 40 cents to $34.06.