September 2, 2011
MRV Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: MRVC) is ready to leave the networking industry.
An Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing on Friday afternoon says the company is considering alternatives for its Network Equipment Group. That would include the Optical Communications Systems division, a U.S.-based operation whose portfolio includes optical transport and carrier Ethernet gear.
The group also includes Appointech Inc., which is a Taiwanese optical-components outfit, and Creative Electronic Systems SA, a Swiss avionics company.
Not included in the group is Source Photonics Inc. , the optical transceiver division that comprised MRV's LuminentOIC Inc. and the acquired Fiberxon Inc. MRV sold off Source in October.
Should MRV sell off the group, it would be left with the Network Integration Group, which represented about 57 percent of MRV's revenues in 2010.
Why this matters
It's not immediately clear why MRV is suddenly considering divesting its networking business. MRV is skirting just around the break-even point but doesn't appear to be bleeding cash. In an indirect way, that could be part of the problem; MRV came under a shareholder revolt. An Aug. 16 letter from Raging Capital Management LLC demanded that MRV shrink its board, pay a dividend and hold quarterly earnings calls.
MRV wasn't immediately available for comment, and of course, the SEC filing came on the cusp of a long weekend in the United States. We may have to wait until next week for details.
MRV's networking team certainly wasn't idle in recent months. Here's some of that activity, and some old links about the birth and death of Source Photonics.
MRV to Sell Source
Source Photonics Files for IPO
MRV Closes Books on Fiberxon
— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading
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