Elliott Management Swings for Juniper in Tech Shakeup

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- For Elliott Management, the tech sector deals just keep on getting bigger as the hedge fund braces for an active year shaking up the management and strategy of laggards in a booming Silicon Valley.

Now the Paul Singer-run hedge fund and its tech sector analyst Jesse Cohn are shooting for Juniper Networks (JNPR).

Elliott Management said in a Monday morning regulatory filing that the fund has accumulated an over 6% stake in Juniper Networks and will seek to meet with management about a potential sale of the company or changes to its strategy or capital structure.

The fund also said that it would hold out the right to make proposals about changes to Juniper's operations, management, board of directors and dividend policies. Elliott Management characterized their prospective efforts as "a means of enhancing shareholder value."

Juniper Networks specializes in data network infrastructure and the switching and routing that occurs on distributed networks.

The company's shares were rising nearly 7% to $25.18 in early Monday trading. Shares in the company have generally underperformed broader markets in the past 12 months, even after recovering sharply from April 2013 lows below $16 a share.

Already, Elliott Management has had a busy year.

Earlier in January, Elliott offered a $3 billion buyout of Riverbed Technologies (RVBD) and said it would be amenable to a sale process where other strategic or financial acquirers bid on the company.

Elliott Management also recently reached an agreement with Compuware (CPWR) to gain representation on the company's board of directors. Elliott has offered $2.3 billion to takeover Compuware. Currently, the company is in the process of executing a two-year cost cutting initiative that is expected to boost capital returns at the Detroit-based software specialist.

In 2013, the fund was also part of an investor consortium that acquired BMC Software. That privatization deal, which included Bain Capital, Golden Gate Capital, Insight Venture Partners and a Singaporean sovereign wealth fund, came after Elliott had advocated a breakup of the cloud software specialist.

Juniper Networks represents one of Elliott Management's biggest activist bets. The company's market capitalization now stands at nearly $13 billion, far greater than the likes of Riverbed, Compuware and previous activist efforts like Brocade Communications (BRCD), BMC Software and Novell.

Still, Elliott has been successful in selectively targeting under-performing tech sector specialists, amid a land grab for mobility, software and cloud computing services among Silicon Valley heavyweights like Oracle (ORCL) and Cisco (CSCO).

-- Written by Antoine Gara in New York

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