Juniper poaching Nortel’s channels?

Juniper has the most to gain from tenuous , according to a bulletin issued this month by investment firm Oppenheimer & Co.

is aggressively recruiting Nortel's channel partners as Nortel grapples with a decision on whether to file for    as it readies some of its assets for sale. Nortel has reportedly received bids for its Metro Ethernet Networks business, which the company put on the block in September, and may be looking to sell off more businesses.

"We believe recent reports that Nortel is contemplating bankruptcy are likely to force its enterprise channel to look for new alternatives," states Oppenheimer analyst Ittai Kidron in the report, which was issued last week. "With roughly $600M-$700M in quarterly enterprise revenue, we believe Nortel's enterprise business could deteriorate faster than its carrier business. We expect competitors to aggressively poach Nortel's channels and enterprise business."

Oppenheimer believes Juniper has already taken "aggressive steps" targeting Nortel's channels and is the one competitor --  and F5 Networks being others -- that could see the most meaningful upside relative to its market position.

Juniper was not immediately available for comment.

Juniper's overlap with Nortel is primarily in switching, routing and security, Oppenheimer notes. Juniper's switching business should get a "solid boost" at Nortel's expense from the ability to attract the beleaguered company's channel partners, the firm asserts.