Lucent: Optical unit finally for sale?
Not that it's such a surprise, but Lucent Technologies reportedly has received five bids for its optical fiber unit. The sale could bring up to $6 billion for the cash-strapped Lucent.
Citing unnamed sources close to the issue, both The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times report that Alcatel SA, Pirelli SpA, Furukawa Electric Co., Corning Inc. and JDS Uniphase Corp. — and potentially General Electric, under certain conditions — have submitted bids in the multistage, weeks-long auction.
Lucent spokeswoman Mary Ward told CEDaily the company was not commenting on the bids, bidders or expected sale price.
"It's speculation from other people," she says. "All we're saying is we don't have any new news. It's an ongoing process."
Still, in mid-March, Lucent had stated it was pursuing a variety of strategic alternatives for its 6,300-employee optical fiber unit, when "the company (was) reviewing such options as selling the business or forming a joint venture." At the time, the company expected to reap $8 billion to $10 billion in the sale.
Also at the time, Lucent Executive VP of corporate strategy and business development Bill O'Shea said Lucent would focus its resources and investments on market-critical areas, while expanding its customer base and allowing investment in fiber and fiber cable.
The division grew by more than 60 percent in 2000, he added. In March 2001, it was undergoing a $1 billion expansion, including $250 million for its AllWave metro fiber division in Norcross, Ga.