Optical components

Iolon Sells for $5M

Tunable-laser vendor Iolon Inc. has finally come to rest, as Coherent Inc. (Nasdaq: COHR) today announced an agreement to buy Iolon's assets for $5 million.

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

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oemarket_com 12/5/2012 | 4:05:33 AM
re: Iolon Sells for $5M The simple fact is that the market does not need the tunable lasers so much yet. All those R&D efforts that lost big bucks should have been done in the university labs using much less money.
VCs are just getting their bitter lessons again.
light-headed 12/5/2012 | 2:55:19 AM
re: Iolon Sells for $5M ...return on investment! So much for the KP magic touch. Does this mean that the bubble is finally, officially over?
deauxfaux 12/5/2012 | 2:55:17 AM
re: Iolon Sells for $5M Given the actual amount of tunable business out there, and the pricing.

So Iolon turned $85M into $5, and Agility turned $225M into ~$50M? John Clark (Iolon CEO) was/is a smart guy that was fighting an un-winnable battle
o-man 12/5/2012 | 2:55:16 AM
re: Iolon Sells for $5M Agility raised >200,000,000.
Agility sold for <20,000,000.

Iolon Raised >85,000,000.
Iolon sold for <=5,000,000.

Bandwidth9 Raised >110,000,000
Sold IP and assets for <2,000,000

What is the World wide market for tunable lasers today??? Maybe 30,000,000 and the successful ones are the big guys (Intel, Fujitsu) and maybe one more start up santur...

WTF is up with all the get rich quick VC's. Did they help or hurt the industry???
Stevery 12/5/2012 | 2:55:16 AM
re: Iolon Sells for $5M
OK, transforming $85M into $5M is unnoteworthy, and Agility was not that much better.

However, one thing that would be interesting for articles like these: What are the comps? Since you guys (LR) went thru the trouble of putting together the LR Index, you might as well use that. You already know when they took money, just do the comp.

Granted, beating the LR index without returning much to the stockholders is only a pyrrhic victory, but it at least adds some shades of gray to the levels of success or unsuccess of what the company produced.

(Perhaps I'm just sympathetic to the tunable guys. Nice tech, smart guys, wrong time / scale.)
Vent 12/5/2012 | 2:55:15 AM
re: Iolon Sells for $5M O man
The fujitsu tunable laser I have seen so far is only a temperature tunable DFB indeed intel anounced that fujitsu was using its tunable

where (a link) and what is fujitsu's succesful tunable laser
o-man 12/5/2012 | 2:55:15 AM
re: Iolon Sells for $5M Vent

I thought Fujitsu had a 22 channel tunable, but your correct.

I did leave out NEC. http://www.commsdesign.com/new...
whyiswhy 12/5/2012 | 2:55:14 AM
re: Iolon Sells for $5M History is replete with lovely physics experiments that went nowhere business-wise.

Kudos to the scientists / engineers who talked the VCs out of their cash in the relentless pursuit of their vision / lifestyle.

Kudos to the VC who manage to every once in pick a winner that pays, and on that basis talk the limiteds out of their cash.

I guess its still OK to be a visionary scientist / engineer.

"Sometimes you eat the bear, sometimes it eats you!"

o-man 12/5/2012 | 2:55:13 AM
re: Iolon Sells for $5M chromeattis

I do not even remember them? Who were they/what did they do?
Balet 12/5/2012 | 2:55:13 AM
re: Iolon Sells for $5M Add to this
Xros bought by Nortel for ...
Chromatis bought by Lucent for....

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