Iolon Sells for $5M
Light Reading had previously reported Iolon was in play, with Coherent flagged as the probable buyer. (See Is Iolon Becoming Coherent? and Something's Up at Iolon.)
Coherent won't be using Iolon's tunable lasers. Rather, the company wanted Iolon's manufacturing prowess, "the MEMS and automated assembly" and some "very good packaging" technology, a Coherent spokesman says. That technology will depart the telecom realm, as Coherent will apply it to scientific instrumentation and display markets.
Iolon's physical assets -- manufacturing equipment, presumably -- will be moved into Coherent's Santa Clara, Calif., facility. Some undisclosed number of employees will make the jump from Iolon, the spokesman said.
Iolon officials did not immediately return calls for comment.
It appears to be a less noble ending than that of Agility Communications Inc., the fellow Tunable Lasers startup that sat alongside Iolon on Light Reading Top 10 lists of yore. Agility is being acquired by JDS Uniphase Corp. (Nasdaq: JDSU; Toronto: JDU) in a deal announced in September, with Agility CEO Ron Nelson slated to run a new telecom modules unit. (See JDSU Tunes In Agility.)
Iolon had raised at least $85 million, much of it in a $53 million second round in 2001. (See Corning Backs Laser Startup.) Santur Corp. and Syntune AB continue to carry the torch as tunable-laser startups. Bigger players including Avanex Corp. (Nasdaq: AVNX), Bookham Inc., (Nasdaq: BKHM; London: BHM), and also remain in the game.
— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading