Lucent Sells Optical Fiber Businesses
Stephanie A. Weiss
MURRAY HILL, N.J. -- Several months after rumors about Lucent Technologies Inc. trying to dump its optical fiber operations, three companies have carted off pieces of the business for $2.75 billion.
Furukawa Electric Co. Ltd. of Tokyo will pay $2.525 billion for the bulk of the Optical Fiber Solutions business, which it will run in a joint venture with CommScope Inc. of Hickory, N.C. Furukawa's payment to Lucent may include as much as $250 million in CommScope stock.
The third buyer, Corning Inc. of Corning, N.Y., is paying $225 million in cash for interest in two Chinese joint ventures in Shanghai and in Beijing. The purchase is subject to approvals by other equity shareholders in the joint ventures and by government regulators in both the US and China.
Furukawa officials noted that its purchase comes with important intellectual property rights, including not only those from Lucent, but also worldwide rights to some Corning patents.
According to figures from Furukawa, Corning holds the largest share of the global optical fiber market, producing about 30 percent of the world's fiber in 2000. Lucent, with 19 percent of the market, was second, followed by Alcatel SA with 12 percent. Furukawa tied with two other Japanese firms for fourth place but should leap to second with the Lucent purchase.
Alcatel and Lucent had been negotiating a merger only a few weeks before the optical fiber division sales announcement, but the deal fell through.
Lucent Optical Fiber Solutions, based in Norcross, Ga., makes and sells optical fiber, cables, connectors and other components for optical communications. The business unit has 6300 employees. It has wholly owned and joint-venture facilities in Massachusetts, Georgia, North Carolina, New Jersey, Connecticut, Denmark, Germany, China, Japan, Russia and Brazil. Sales for the year ending September 2000 were $1.925 billion.
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