Tellium Finishes Astarte Acquisition

Tellium Inc., finished
securing key fiber-optic patent rights with the completion of its
acquisition of rival Astarte Fiber Networks Monday.

Announced earlier this year, the acquisition expands Tellium’s intellectual
property in all-optical switching equipment, namely its flagship product,
the Aurora Full-Spectrum switch. The switch is designed to exploit the
bit-rate independent carrying potential of all-optical switches, managing
and controlling a backbone up to OC-768.

Three patents reaped immediate rewards for the Oceanport, NJ, company, with
the licensing of servo and control systems for micro electro-mechanical
systems patents to Corning Inc., for its optical fiber, cable and photonic product line.

Krishna Bala, Tellium chief technology officer, said Astarte patents were a
key reason it was targeted for acquisition.

“When we started the development of the Aurora Full-Spectrum product line,
we identified companies with leading technologies in the optical arena,”
Bala said. “Astarte is ideal because of the strength of its intellectual
property portfolio. We are excited to see the value of such intellectual
property validated through license by a company of Corning’s caliber. This
acquisition is a major milestone in the development of our Aurora
Full-Spectrum all-optical switch.”

Tellium officials are hoping completion of the acquisition and its hefty
contracts pique investor curiosity, as the company is nearly one month into
its $250 initial public offering, announced Sept. 22. It will trade under
the NASDAQ
symbol TELM
.

Industry experts consider the acquisition a good move. Many see the
company taking positive steps to compete with the likes of Nortel Networks CIENA Corp. and Sycamore Networks Inc.

The company has signed several key contracts this year to reinforce that
opinion. The company signed a $300 million contract with Qwest Communications, a $350
million contract with Cable &
Wireless Global Networks Ltd.
and $250 million
contract with Extant Inc.

The company has been doling out stock to secure some contracts, namely in
the case of Qwest. All told, two of Qwest’s subsidiaries received two
million shares while the telco’s officers and affiliates received 333,333
shares of stock.

AT&T Corp.
received 1.5 million shares of stock in exchange for Tellium’s use of Ma
Bell intellectual property.

Science Applications
International Corp.
and Lucent Technologies Inc.
still hold the lion’s share of Tellium, however, with 22 and 10.4 percent,
respectively, of the voting stock.

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