NEW YORK (AP) — Activist investor Elliott Management Corp. is pushing for Juniper Networks Inc. to buy back its stock and make other changes to boost its value. Shares of the computer network equipment maker climbed 8 percent in midday trading Monday. The hedge fund, which recently bought up a 6.2 percent stake in the company, said Monday that it wants the Sunnyvale, Calif. -based company to cut costs, buy back $3.5 billion worth of its stock and refocus its security and switching business on projects where it has more expertise. Elliott said that these moves could result in a stock price of $35 to $40 per share — a range 49 to 70 percent above Friday's closing price of $23.54 . The hedge fund has complained that the company's stock has been underperforming the stock market and its competitors. Juniper's shares had gained 16 percent in the past 12 months. The company in November named a Barclays executive, Shaygan Kheradpir, as CEO, replacing Kevin Johnson , who was retiring. Kheradpir took over as CEO Jan. 1 . Juniper "welcomes the opinions and insights of its shareholders and is always open to constructive input toward the goal of enhancing shareholder value," the company said in an emailed statement. Shares of Juniper added $1.90 , or 8.1 percent, to $25.44 Monday, while broader markets slipped.
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