Optical/IP Networks

Agere's Fistful of Dollars

Agere Systems, the Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU) optical component spinoff that has tenaciously insisted on going public in the teeth of the bear market, finally priced its IPO last night at $6 per share.

After making its public debut on the New York Stock Exchange, shares of Agere rose nine cents (1.50%) to 6.09 in late afternoon trading.

The pricing comes after several downward adjustments to the offering (see Agere Sets Pricing Date and Range and Agere Delays IPO and Reduces Offering). The IPO raised $3.6 billion for Agere, about half of what it had hoped to raise when it first filed to go public.

Despite the brutal market, the company needed to complete the IPO in order to finance the spinoff and alleviate some of the debt that it inherited from parent company Lucent.

Last week, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, the lead underwriter on the Agere deal, changed the number of shares offered from 500 million to 600 million. It also reduced the price of those shares from a range of between $12 and $14 a share to between $6 and $7.

It also appears that Agere's string of bad luck isn't quite over. This morning, Nasdaq opened deep in the red after last night's gloomy warning from Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT), a Lucent and Agere competitor, which said the company's quarterly results would fall short of previous guidance. Agere then issued its own warning, saying the company expected a significant operating loss in 2001.

-- R. Scott Raynovich, executive editor,Light Reading http://www.lightreading.com

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