December 22, 2009
Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN) hasn't given many details about the integration of the Nortel Networks Ltd. Metro Ethernet Networks division. But it does appear that Philippe Morin, president of the division, will join Ciena once the $769 million deal closes. (See Ciena Beats NSN to Buy Nortel's MEN.)
"What I can tell you is that the intent for me is to go along with the team," Morin tells Light Reading.
Of course, anything can happen -- maybe Nokia Networks will show up again -- but it sounds as if Morin figures into Ciena's plans, at least initially. (See NSN Hopes Dashed as Ciena/Nortel Deal OK'd.)
Ciena isn't saying anything specific about its plans for MEN or whether Morin will continue to run the outfit. The deal is expected to close next quarter.
There's plenty of cheer around MEN going into the holiday season. First, the division's fate appears to be settled, 15 months after Nortel first tried putting it on the block. (See Nortel to Sell Carrier Ethernet, Optical Biz.)
Then, Nortel's 100-Gbit/s technology, considered a prized piece of MEN, got its first commercial deployment with Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) last week. (See Verizon Switches On 100G in Europe.)
MEN held a celebration last week -- "employee-sponsored," Morin stresses -- to mark the occasion.
That's important, because Nortel is believed to have lost quite a few optical and Ethernet customers, particularly once the company filed for bankruptcy and restructuring in January. Third-quarter revenues for MEN fell to $295 million for the quarter ended Sept. 30, down 26 percent from the same quarter a year ago. (See Nortel Shrinks Again.)
"Because we had filed in January, there were definitely some customers that were waiting to see what would happen to the business," Morin says. "Some people would have questioned whether Verizon would continue to work with us on 100 Gbit/s. With the Ciena announcement, we're starting to see much more stability with our customer base."
Morin even suggests that MEN's decline wasn't so bad if you take the economy into account: "If you exclude China and compare us with the rest of the market, we've actually done really well, considering we were in a difficult situation with the filing."
That might be a stretch. Light Reading ran that theory past one optical-industry source who said it's preposterous -- even if you exclude the China market.
— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading
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