The rise of the next networking giant?

A networking exec spins a vision of private equity building the next giant of the industry

Dinner last night with a networking exec. We asked which networking companies could grow to challenge Cisco and Juniper. Two possibilities, he said. One, a rising star from China. The second, more intriguing possibility, would be a brand-new networking conglomerate.

Here's how he sees it: There are billions of dollars sitting in private equity. Lots of networking companies have steady market positions, decent cash flow--and are going nowhere. Conceivably, investors could piece together a stable of these companies, and find a blue-chip telecom exec to hack out costs, forge a corporate culture and create the next networking giant. Sound far-fetched? According to this exec, it's just a matter of "catching five or six falling knives and turning them into a rocket."

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