Ciena finalizes purchase of Omnia

$474 million deal to help company offer broad range of services


July 07, 1999|By Mark Ribbing | Mark Ribbing,SUN STAFF

Ciena Corp. said yesterday that it has completed its $474 million purchase of Omnia Communications Inc. The acquisition is part of Linthicum-based Ciena's strategy to offer a wider range of telecommunications network services.

Ciena gained national prominence as a maker of equipment that allows fiber-optic networks to carry more phone calls and Internet messages. The company ran into setbacks last year as larger, more diversified rivals began competing in Ciena's market.

On March 15, Ciena announced that it was buying Marlborough, Mass.-based Omnia and Lightera Networks Inc. of Cupertino, Calif.

By acquiring these two obscure, private companies, Ciena sought to assert itself as a company that would manage and expand communications traffic.

Lightera makes switches that will enable Ciena to manage call traffic. Omnia's gear links customers to fiber-optic networks.

Ciena announced the closing of the Lightera acquisition, valued at $463.5 million, on March 31.

Omnia's operations, which will remain based in Massachusetts, will be known as Ciena's access systems division.

"It gives us a whole new market to address," Ciena spokesman Denny Bilter said of the Omnia acquisition.

Pub Date: 7/07/99

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