Laser Industry Report

Aug. 1, 2000
JDS Uniphase snaps up SDL; University to lose security and management roles in weapons laboratories; Rockwell Technologies sues Spectra-Physics over patent; and more.

JDS Uniphase snaps up SDL

JDS Uniphase (JDSU; Nepean, Ont., Canada, and San Jose, CA) and SDL Inc. (San Jose, CA) have announced a $41 billion merger agreement in which JDSU will exchange 3.8 shares of its common stock for a share of SDL common stock. When the agreement was announced early last month, it was still subject to approval by stockholders of both companies as well as regulatory review. The companies expect the transaction to be completed by December, with SDL chair and CEO Don Scifres retaining leadership of SDL as well as cochairing JDSU. In other news, SDL has completed its acquisition of Photonic Integration Research Inc. (PIRI; Columbus, OH), a manufacturer of arrayed waveguide gratings that enable the routing of individual wavelength channels in fiberoptic systems. SDL issued 8,461,663 shares of SDL Inc. stock and transferred $31.7 million in cash in exchange for all of the stock of PIRI. The total consideration was valued at approximately $2.2 billion.

University to lose security and management roles in weapons laboratories

US Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson has informed the University of California (UC) that its contract for managing national weapons laboratories in Livermore, CA, and Los Alamos, NM, will be restructured to improve security and facility operations. The restructuring, expected to be worked out by September, was motivated by embarrassing incidents such as the National Ignition Facility cost overrun last year and the more-recent disappearance of computer hard drives at Los Alamos. Active UC involvement will be maintained in scientific matters, however.

Rockwell Technologies sues Spectra-Physics over patent

Rockwell Technologies LLC, recently formed to manage intellectual property for Rockwell International Corp. (Thousand Oaks, CA), has sued Spectra-Physics Lasers Inc. (Mountain View, CA) and Opto Power Corp. (Tucson, AZ) for patent infringement, according to Reuters. Papers filed in the US District Court in Delaware allege that laser diodes made by Opto Power incorporate wafers made by a process that infringes a Rockwell patent for an organometallic process used to produce films used in semiconductors on a single substrate. In other news, Spectra-Physics has renamed its Commercial Systems Group to Spectra-Physics Passive Components to reflect an emphasis on telecommunications components. "We're going to focus on telecommunications components, while retaining our commitment to the laser optics business," said Patrick L. Edsell, chairman, president, and CEO of Spectra-Physics.

Prima Industrie purchases Convergent Energy

Prima Industrie SpA (Turin, Italy) and its US subsidiary, Prima US Inc. (Farmington Hills, MI), have purchased Convergent Energy (Sturbridge, MA), formerly known as TransTec Lasers, for an undisclosed amount. Convergent Energy is a supplier of CO2 and Nd:YAG lasers to the automotive, aerospace, and electronics industries. Prima is largely known for its cutting and welding systems for metal fabrication.

GSI Lumonics gets out of coding

GSI Lumonics Inc. (Kanata, Ont., Canada) has divested its Xymark laser coding business located in Hull, England. The business was acquired by Linx Printing Technologies plc, a UK manufacturer of continuous ink-jet printers. Under the terms of the transaction, Linx will acquire the operating assets related to the business from GSI Lumonics for US$8.9 million. GSI Lumonics supplies laser-based automated advanced manufacturing systems and components and services to the semiconductor, electronics, and automotive markets.

Also in the news . . .

Cymer Inc. (San Diego, CA) has shipped its first 157-nm fluorine laser to Ultratech Stepper Inc. (San Jose, CA). . . . Cree Inc. (Durham, NC) has introduced new lower-power, smaller-sized light-emitting-diode devices based on the company's existing standard and high-brightness silicon carbide product technology. . . . Boeing (Seattle, WA) has announced plans to purchase SVS Inc., which makes laser tracking and imaging systems for the Airborne Laser missile defense and other US Department of Defense projects.

Hassaun Jones-Bey

For more business news, subscribe to Optoelectronics Report. Contact Jayne Sears-Renfer at [email protected].

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