Calif. firm to take over last part of Corvis Corp.

BUSINESS DIGEST

July 20, 2006|By ALLISON CONNOLLY | ALLISON CONNOLLY,SUN REPORTER

The last vestige of Corvis Corp., the Columbia optical fiber optic startup that had a meteoric rise during the technology boom, is being taken over by a Silicon Valley company.

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Infinera Corp. has licensed Corvis' intellectual property and will absorb 40 employees left in Columbia, adding a dozen or so of its own local employees. After the implosion of the telecom sector, Corvis bought telecommunications services company Broadwing Corp. of Austin, Texas, in 2003 and assumed its name a year later to reflect its change of business focus. It moved its headquarters to Texas early this year.

The Corvis takeover is part of a bigger licensing deal where Broadwing will use Infinera's optical technology to enhance its national fiber optic network, which carries voice, data and media services.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Broadwing officials were not available yesterday for comment, a spokeswoman said.

Infinera is looking to revive Corvis, which is a shadow of its former self.

The company was once worth more than $28 billion, having raised $1.1 billion with its July 2000 initial public offering and closing its first day of trading with its shares up 135 percent at $84.72. Yesterday, Broadwing's shares closed at $9.04.

Infinera is a five-year-old company with 400 employees worldwide and offices in Allentown, Pa., and Bangalore, India. It has technology that can transmit 1 billion bits of data per second.

Infinera has a team of about a dozen employees in Columbia and was familiar with Corvis before the transaction, said spokesman Jeff Ferry.

"We knew Corvis had some good technology and good engineers," Ferry said.

Infinera is not buying Corvis outright from Broadwing. It will manage the engineering, manufacturing and support team in Columbia and will sell Corvis legacy telecommunications equipment exclusively to Broadwing, Ferry said.

Infinera also is looking to expand its presence here, he said.

"We're very happy to be there because there's a concentration of optical networking in the Baltimore-Washington corridor," Ferry said.

allison.connolly@baltsun.com

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