Lightwave Microsystems Mulls IPO

DENVER -- Lightwave Microsystems is among the leading IPO candidates in the optical components space, which seems to be growing hotter by the minute.

Three sources here at the National Fiber Optic Engineers Conference (NFOEC) said the company has selected the lead investment banker and is preparing an S-1 statement to file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The only question is how soon the company wants to pull the trigger. Recent optical components IPOs by companies such as Bookham Technology PLC (Nasdaq: BKHM) and New Focus Inc. (Nasdaq: NUFO) have been enormously successful, and the public markets appear ready to welcome any optical components companies with healthy valuations.

One investment banker described interest in the company's business as intense.

Lightwave officials declined to comment. Lightwave integrates components such as DWDM waveguides on single pieces of silicon, providing optical systems on a chip. Last February, the company landed $48 million in a fourth round of funding led by Chase H&Q, a division of Chase Securities and one of the leading technology investment banks. Other investors in the company include Bessemer Ventures, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Information Technology Ventures, Morgenthaler Ventures, Oak Investment Partners, Weiss Peck & Greer Ventures, Worldview Technology, First Analysis of Chicago, and Comdisco.

The development came amidst a backdrop of rising interest in the components space, as systems players are squeezed by components shortages.

"Components, components, components," said Carl Russo, Cisco's group vice president of optical networking, when asked which optical space was the most attractive for investment. Russo was one of the key speakers at a dinnner sponsored by Light Reading on Monday night.

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

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