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  • Coherent Acquires Positive Light

Photonics Spectra
Mar 2003
Paula M. Powell

Coherent Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif., remains in acquisition mode with the announcement that it has signed a definitive purchase agreement to acquire Positive Light Inc., a Los Gatos, Calif.-based manufacturer of solid-state lasers for scientific and industrial applications, including metrology, amplification and spectroscopy. This follows closely on the heels of its $11.5 million December acquisition of Portland, Ore.-based Molectron Detector, now called Coherent Molectron, which is a manufacturer of laser test and measurement equipment.

According to Coherent's president and CEO, John Ambroseo, the move should come as no surprise to anyone who has monitored the company's activities since the divestiture of its medical business a couple of years back. This both freed significant cash reserves for acquisitions and built investor expectations that the laser manufacturer would find new ways to replace the lost revenue streams. In addition, it opened a window of opportunity for the firm to acquire companies that mesh well with its core competencies and perhaps have a more predictable market than is possible with the highly cyclical medical business.

Peter Schuman, Coherent's director of investor relations, added that the transaction expands the company's product offerings. Besides complementary laser products, Positive Light brings something new to the table in high-power amplifiers. The acquisition also presents a clear opportunity to further leverage the firm's global distribution network and supply chain.

Schuman reported that, although the new member of the Coherent team still has one distribution agreement for its Ti:sapphire amplifier products with another laser company, procedures have been established to ensure that Coherent and Positive Light will satisfy all obligations under the terms of this agreement, which expires Dec. 31. At that time, the product will transfer to the internal distribution As with the Molectron acquisition, Positive Light and its senior management team will continue operating in Los Gatos for the time being.

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