Tellabs Buys AFC for $1.9 Billion

Billion-dollar buyouts are back on the telecom agenda. Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA) announced this morning it is buying access equipment vendor Advanced Fibre Communications Inc. (AFC) (Nasdaq: AFCI) in a stock and cash deal worth $1.9 billion (see Tellabs to Acquire AFC).

The move comes only three months after Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR) announced a $4 billion takeover (see Juniper Buys NetScreen).

Today's announcement shouldn't come as a shock, as Light Reading has been writing about a potential deal for months (see Tellabs Angling for Access – and AFC, Talk of AFC Deal Is Back , and AFC Chief Says Sale Makes Sense). Analysts say a major factor in the agreement may have been AFC's need for a larger partner to go after FTTP deals at large RBOCs, such as those developing at Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) (see Verizon's FTTP Demo Helps AFC and Verizon Flaunts Fiber Plan).

AFC's stock was trading up $2.01 (12%) to $18.84 in morning trading, reflecting a premium in the price offered over yesterday's stock price.

The news was not well received by all investors. Tellabs' share price fell $1.22 (13%) to $7.97 in morning trading.

Tellabs and AFC executives say the motivation for the deal is to tap into the booming broadband market.

"Marrying the leader in access with the leader in transport positions us to grow with our customers in the industry's sweet spot of broadband services," said Tellabs CEO and president Krish Prabhu in a prepared statement. "Together, Tellabs and AFC create a strategic global telecom equipment supplier that will lead the industry's shift to broadband data with end-to-end access and transport solutions."

Under the terms of the transaction, AFC stockholders will receive 1.55 shares of Tellabs common stock and $7.00 in cash for each AFC share. Based on Tellabs' closing price yesterday, the deal is valued at $1.9 billion.

Once the acquisition is completed, Tellabs stockholders will own approximately 75 percent of the company and AFC stockholders the remaining 25 percent. The acquisition is set to close in the second half of 2004.

AFC's CEO John Schofield will become chief operating officer and a director of Tellabs once the deal is completed. The combined company will employ about 4,100 staff around the world.

Rumors of the Tellabs/AFC combination first surfaced in January 2004, when the access gear vendor was valued at more than $2 billion. Since then AFC's stock price tumbled from a high of $27.50 to around $15.50, giving it a market capitalization of $1.4 billion and making an acquisition more attractive. Tellabs' stock had held steady, helped by the fact that the company posted its first profit in two years last quarter (see Tellabs Returns to Profit).

Light Reading will update this story as more information becomes available.

— Pauline Rigby, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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Y2KickIT 12/5/2012 | 1:42:15 AM
re: Tellabs Buys AFC for $1.9 Billion "Their product may not be deployed, and sure, there have been issues in lab testing, but nobody else has it deployed either."

Are you kidding? Alcatel and Optical Solutions are deployed in the U.S. market with same ITU BPON that AFC is trying to deliver.

Optical Solutions even has GPON which Verizon says they will use when it is ready. When AFC missed deadlines Verizon quietly asked Alcatel to rebid.

If municipalities, utilities, and master planned communities had not been deploying FTTP for the last few years it might not have been on the RBOC radar.
Road Trip 12/5/2012 | 1:44:48 AM
re: Tellabs Buys AFC for $1.9 Billion What ever happened wih Marconi/AFC and Palo Alto?
Truelight1 12/5/2012 | 1:44:50 AM
re: Tellabs Buys AFC for $1.9 Billion optobozo....your right. JS and the management team panicked or could not hanlde the pressure to delvier what they said promised.

AFC employees are bummed out that they where let down by JS et al. Hey who knows under the magnificant proven management style of Naper. Tellabs with their proven track record this could be the next big iundustry star ;-)

optobozo 12/5/2012 | 1:44:53 AM
re: Tellabs Buys AFC for $1.9 Billion I find it rather odd that a company would sell itself short to another because their future business is going to be so great that they can't support it. AFC can't hire a few folks in a market like this?... I suppose if AFC got in over thier heads with the Marconi access gear they acquired very quickly and expensivley (to paraphrase a Barclays Private Client analyst) and it's requisite support team which might not have existed.

The bet posed by Big Red seems pretty good to me. I think AFC can't get their own gear to work, can't resurect the Marconi PON gear (remember that Palo Alto trial they had a couple of years ago?), and are now in pure panic mode. It wouldn't be the first time an RBOC (nearly) killed a good company by association.

I could be wrong because I'm just an...

mtnbikey 12/5/2012 | 1:44:55 AM
re: Tellabs Buys AFC for $1.9 Billion So AFC was sold cheap. Perhaps the CEO panicked.
The truth is that AFC has been talking with so many telecoms from BT to SwissCom, that they had to allign themselves with a company who is positioned with a customer service department to handle the future business. Their product may not be deployed, and sure, there have been issues in lab testing, but nobody else has it deployed either. People can keep on making negative comments, but pencil out the numbers for this combined company and in two years there are going to be lots of people who wished they had bought this cheap stock....
stephenpcooke 12/5/2012 | 1:45:10 AM
re: Tellabs Buys AFC for $1.9 Billion Technonerd, did you get a job or something...

You've been incredibly quiet while some items that would generally have piqued your interest/ire came up.
Truelight1 12/5/2012 | 1:45:18 AM
re: Tellabs Buys AFC for $1.9 Billion Big Red, I take that offer.

Product is still slipping - fact

There's a 3% penalty for a pullout of merger.

tekbabe 12/5/2012 | 1:45:20 AM
re: Tellabs Buys AFC for $1.9 Billion Hello boys... what do they say??? Timing is EVERYTHING! Take the money and run before you're held accountable for the sinking ship.
Big Red 12/5/2012 | 1:45:22 AM
re: Tellabs Buys AFC for $1.9 Billion Interesting timing. A day before this announcement Jo Scho mentions that everything is OK with FTTP. FTTP is THE deal to bail out AFC. Now the project is off his clock, COO or not. Based on the continued skepticism everywhere outside of AFC, I would bet some sort of leak or announcement within the next month or so that AFC still has not delivered a deployable product.

Takers ?

Big Red
technonerd 12/5/2012 | 1:45:27 AM
re: Tellabs Buys AFC for $1.9 Billion ... of a brontosaurus and a stegosaurus. Oops, what's that flaming boulder in the sky?
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