Fiberoptics Industry Report

Finisar to buy Infineon fiberoptics group; Lucent wins two big DOD contracts; Edsell takes over at NP Photonics; MORE...

Jun 1st, 2004

Finisar to buy Infineon fiberoptics group

Finisar (Sunnyvale, CA) and Infineon Technologies (Munich, Germany) entered into a definitive agreement through which Finisar will acquire Infineon's fiberoptics business unit based in Munich for 135 million shares of Finisar common stock—approximately $260 million. The acquisition involves the transfer of Infineon's fiberoptic development, manufacturing, and certain marketing activities, and approximately 1200 employees.

Following the transaction, Infineon will hold a 38% equity interest in Finisar. Jerry Rawls, president and CEO of Finisar, and Frank Levinson, chairman and CTO of Finisar, who own 15% of the shares, entered into an agreement with Infineon that they will vote their shares in favor of the transaction.

The Infineon fiberoptics unit develops, manufactures, and markets a range of fiberoptic datacom and telecom modules supporting the common MSA standards, BIDI components that allow bidirectional transmission on a single fiber for fiber-to-the-home applications and plastic optical fiber components that are used in automotive applications, specifically, for media and safety systems. In the second fiscal quarter ended March 31, 2004, Infineon's fiberoptics unit posted revenues of approximately $32 million.

Lucent wins two big DOD contracts

The U.S. Department of Defense has awarded Lucent Technologies (Murray Hill, NJ) two contracts valued at $26 million. One contract, worth $13.4 million, is for the second phase of the Coherent Communications Imaging and Targeting (CCIT) program; the other is a $12.5 million contract for the Integrated Router Interconnected Spectrally (IRIS) program.

Under the CCIT contract, Lucent Technologies' Bell Labs and the New Jersey Nanotechnology Consortium (NJNC) will lead a team to research and develop new secure, high-speed and long-range laser-based communication technologies. The CCIT program addresses the critical need for secure high-data-rate communications and imaging from land, sea, and airborne platforms to space. The resulting system is expected to yield communication up-link speeds in the multigigabit-per-second range and provide aberration-free 3-D imaging at distances of more than 1000 km.

Lucent's four-year IRIS award, administered by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (Rome, NY), will be used to develop the architecture, components, and prototype systems for all-optical packet routing in high-speed telecommunications systems. This includes the development of an optical-packet router that can send and receive up to 100 terabits of data per second and integrated photonic circuits that allow traffic in the network to be switched at speeds below a nanosecond.

Edsell takes over at NP Photonics

NP Photonics (Tucson, AZ), a developer and manufacturer micro fiber products for sensing and scientific applications, has appointed industry veteran Pat Edsell as president and CEO. Edsell brings more than 20 years of senior executive experience in the optical and microelectronics manufacturing industries to NP Photonics. Previously, he was president and CEO of Gigabit Optics. Prior to Gigabit Optics, he was chairman, president, and CEO of Spectra-Physics for 11 years. Earlier this year, NP Photonics named Philippe Brak as its new vice president of sales and marketing. Like Edsell, Brak was previously with Gigabit Optics and Spectra-Physics.

Terabeam acquired by wireless firm

YDI Wireless (Falls Church, VA) is adding free-space optics to its technology stable with the purchase of Terabeam (Redmond, WA), which will become a wholly owned subsidiary of YDI and remain focused on high-capacity wireless systems for telecommunications carriers. Currently, YDI provides point-to-point and point-to-multipoint microwave radio systems and point-to-point millimeter-wave (MMW) systems, while Terabeam provides broadband wireless systems using high-frequency MMW and free-space optics technologies. YDI CEO Robert Fitzgerald will be the CEO of the combined company, which will be managed by the current YDI management team and will have a board of directors consisting of four YDI designees and three Terabeam designees, including Dan Hesse, Terabeam chairman and CEO.

Also in the news . . .

Continuum Photonics (Billerica, MA), a developer of optical switches for the optical automation systems and telecommunications markets, closed an additional round of more than $17.5 million in its Series C financing. . . . OFS (Somerset, NJ) sold its Optical Channel Monitor product line to Princeton Lightwave (PLI; Cranbury, NJ). Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

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