Elliott readies own director slate as Juniper finalizes turnaround plan -sources

NEW YORK Mon Feb 3, 2014 10:01pm EST

NEW YORK Feb 3 (Reuters) - Hedge fund Elliott Management Corp, which owns a 6.2 percent stake in Juniper Networks Inc , has prepared a slate of directors in the event that the network equipment maker's pending turnaround plan does not achieve goals laid out by the activist investor, people close to the matter said.

Elliott, which in January urged Juniper to return cash to investors, consider cutting costs and conduct a strategic review of its product portfolio, said in a statement on Monday that it has recruited a team of leading executives who have the "operational skills" and "deep industry experience" to make its plan a reality.

So far, Elliott has held an open dialog with management and said in its statement that it prefers to work collaboratively with Juniper.

Last week Juniper's new Chief Executive Officer Shaygan Kheradpir met with investors in his first introductory meeting since joining the company in early January, sources familiar with the meetings said.

In a statement to Reuters on Monday, Juniper said: "We are continuing a constructive dialogue with our shareholders and we look forward to presenting our integrated operating plan in the coming weeks."

Goldman Sachs is advising Juniper on its strategy, sources close to the matter said. A representative for Goldman was not immediately available for comment.

Since Elliott launched its campaign on Jan. 13, another activist investor has disclosed a holding in Juniper. Jana Partners LLC said in a letter to its investors that it owns a large stake in Juniper.

Jana said it has been talking to Juniper management to explore ways to unlock "shareholder value" and has cited management compensation as an area of reform. The hedge fund suggested addition of new directors to the company's board.

The deadline for shareholders to nominate directors to Juniper's board is Feb. 23.

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