Infinera buys Little Optics, files IPO

SUNNYVALE, CA-February was a busy month for Infinera, a developer of photonic integrated circuits for optical communications that began as Zepton Networks back in 2000.

SUNNYVALE, CA-February was a busy month for Infinera, a developer of photonic integrated circuits for optical communications that began as Zepton Networks back in 2000. First the company announced that it had acquired Little Optics (Annapolis Junction, MD), an innovator in planar lightwave circuits. Two weeks later, Infinera filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering of up to $150 million in common stock. Infinera is asking to trade on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “INFN.”

Infinera said it will use proceeds for working capital and other general corporate purposes, and may also use part to repay credit facilities or acquire other businesses. For the year ended Dec. 31, Infinera reported losses of $89 million on revenues of $59 million. Still, the company has been very successful in attracting venture capital over the years; most recently, in July 2006, the company raised $110 million in VC funding, for a total of $315 million since its inception.

The Little Optics acquisition is intended to add additional “pioneering technology” to the Infinera digital optical networking architecture, according to Infinera. Little Optics has pioneered the development of integrated optical devices using planar lightwave technology and proprietary glass materials to deliver photonic integration that is designed to be superior to traditional planar lightwave technology. Little Optics’ passive integration techniques are in the development stage, and complement Infinera’s active large-scale photonic integration based on indium phosphide.

“The Infinera DTN system is designed to deliver significant benefits to customers in terms of size, weight, power consumption, and scalability. Integration has enabled Infinera to develop the digital architecture which is designed to be more flexible, simpler, and quicker to deploy,” said Dave Welch, Infinera’s chief marketing and strategy officer. “When integrated into our product, we believe that Little Optics’ technology will bring new capabilities and significant benefits to our photonic integrated circuits and will enable us to enhance the features and capabilities of our digital optical networks.”

Infinera began shipping its DTN system in November 2004 and claims to have the largest market share of 10 Gbps long-haul ports shipped worldwide (see Optoelectronics Report, Sept. 15, 2004). The DTN is deployed in the optical networks of 25 customers, including Internet2, Interoute, Level 3 Communications, and Qwest Communications.

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