Santa Rosa telecom group part of $27m sale

SANTA ROSA -- San Jose-based telecom and datacom network products maker Oclaro, Inc., (Nasdaq: OCLR) today said it reached a deal to sell its Santa Rosa-based thin-film filter business, started a dozen years ago as Cierra Photonics, and another product line to Pennsylvania-based optoelectronics manufacturer II-VI, Inc., (Nasdaq: IIVI) for $27 million in cash.

The definitive agreement between Oclaro and II-VI (724-352-4455, puts the 60-employee Santa Rosa group under the purview of Fuzhou, China-based subsidiary Photop Technologies, Inc. (408-732-1603,, which has sales and marketing offices in Sunnyvale.

The sale agreement also included Oclaro's interleaver products, which combine and split multiple channels of optically transmitted data and voice communication to maximize fiber-optic capacity. Those products will be managed by the Photop Koncent subsidiary.

The deal is expected to close Dec. 3, with $23 million paid at that time, $3 million on Dec. 28 and $1 million on Dec. 31. Revenue from the two product lines was $3.6 million in Oclaro's last fiscal quarter, ended Sept. 29.

"Divesting our thin-film filter business and the interleaver product line is consistent with our strategy to focus our resources on our core competencies," said Alain Couder, chairman and chief executive officer of Oclaro. "The proceeds from these deals improve our balance sheet and give us additional operating flexibility to serve our global customer base. The agreements also strengthen our existing relationships with II-VI and Photop, and will ensure customers in the telecom, life sciences and industrial markets continued access to these products as part of an even broader portfolio from a market leader."

The acquisitions help Photop's core business, expand it further worldwide and help to gain entry into life sciences, according to Francis Kramer, president and CEO of II-VI Incorporated. 

"We look forward to the world-class team at Santa Rosa becoming a part of II-VI," he said.

Glenn Yamamoto and Mike Scobey, former executives of Santa Rosa-based OCLI, started Cierra Photonics in February 2000. Part of the wave of new telecom-related startups in Sonoma County, a cluster nicknamed Telecom Valley, Cierra developed a process for using advanced energetic deposition to mass-produce optical components using a wafer manufacturing approach akin to that used in making computer chips.

A technology partner since September 2002, United Kingdom-based Bookham Technology acquired Cierra in July 2003 for £2.25 million, or about $3.75 million at the time. Bookham and Avanex Corp. merged in 2009 to form Oclaro.

In October, II-VI announced it hired former Avanex Chief Technology Officer Giovanni Barbarossa to that role in the company.

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