Juniper Networks reported sales that topped analysts' estimates, providing momentum to the networking-equipment maker as it contends with Elliott Management's push for stock repurchases.

Revenue increased 12 percent to $1.27 billion from $1.14 billion a year earlier, the Sunnyvale company said Thursday in a statement. Analysts on average predicted sales of $1.22 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Juniper, under newly-appointed Chief Executive Officer Shaygan Kheradpir, is benefiting from increased demand for telecommunications gear as carriers bolster networks to handle surging Web traffic. He'll need to show growth prospects after activist hedge fund Elliott, run by billionaire Paul Singer, said earlier this month that it's amassed a 6.2 percent stake in Juniper and is seeking cost cuts and buybacks.

"You have a lot of cash, you have a company that's avoided the revenue pitfalls" of some competitors, said Scott Thompson, an analyst at FBR Capital Markets who has the equivalent of a hold rating on the stock. "You have a company that has brought in a new CEO to make some changes, hopefully positive ones."

Juniper rose as much as 3.4 percent to $26.90 in extended trading after falling less than 1 percent to $26.01 at the close. The stock has climbed 33 percent since Kheradpir was appointed CEO on Nov. 13, with a third of the jump coming after Elliott's disclosure on Jan. 13.

Net income in the fourth quarter increased 59 percent to $151.8 million, or 30 cents a share, from $95.7 million, or 19 cents a year earlier, Juniper said.


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The company forecast sales of $1.12 billion to $1.16 billion for the first quarter and profit of 27 cents to 30 cents a share. Analysts on average predicted revenue of $1.14 billion and profit of 29 cents a share.