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Juniper Networks a big hit in debut

Shares of Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR) closed up 64 7/8, or 191 percent, to 98 7/8 Friday in its initial public offering. The network-equipment maker priced its 4.8 million share offering at $34 a share Thursday.

The stock surged as high as 106 at one point Friday.

On Wednesday, Juniper bumped up its offering price range to $28 to $30 from $21 to $23, indicating strong demand for the issue. Goldman Sachs is the lead underwriter.

Juniper, which makes Internet backbone routers, competes with Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and a lot of of startups. Juniper also said it anticipates competition from Nortel Networks (NYSE: NT) and Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU).

Of the 4.8 million shares being offered, 2.8 million are being sold by existing shareholders. Crosspoint Venture Partners is selling about 1 million shares with Nortel selling 1.8 million.

In regulatory filings, Juniper said it wants to take advantage of its technological headstart, while growing distribution and its product line.

Revenue has jumped significantly from $3.8 million in 1998 to $10 million for the first quarter ending March 31. The net loss for 1998 was $31 million and $6.67 million in the first quarter.

As of March 31, 1999, the had an accumulated deficit of $49.8 million.

For 1998, Juniper had two customers account for all of its revenue. Of those two, MCI Worldcom's (Nasdaq: WCOM) UUNet unit represented 78 percent of revenue and Ericsson Business Networks AB represented 22 percent. For the first quarter, UUNet was 40 percent of sales and Ericsson was 9 percent. Verio (Nasdaq: VRIO) represented 16 percent of Juniper sales and another MCI Worldcom division, vNBS, was 15 percent of sales. MCI WorldCom's two units operate separately and have separate purchasing decisions.