Sorrento Finds Life After Zhone

After years of being part of Zhone Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: ZHNE), Sorrento Networks Corp. is being revived and taking back its old product line.

According to a notice to customers on the brand spankin' new Sorrento Website, the company acquired its old GigaMux product line from Zhone on January 16. The new Sorrento will be responsible for all service and support of GigaMux products.

In splitting from Zhone, Sorrento has gone private with financial backing from CHB Capital Partners and Silicon Valley Bank . Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The Denver-based company will be led by CEO Jim Nevelle and president and COO Tim Anderson.

The Sorrento product line includes the GigaMux 6400 DWDM Optical Transport Solution, GigaMux 1600/3200 CWDM/DWDM Optical Transport Solution, and the GigaMux 50 Compact, Point-to-Point CWDM Optical Transport Solution.

The product line wasn't a good fit for Zhone from the start, and it never got the R&D or marketing help it needed, says Heavy Reading analyst Sterling Perrin. The new Sorrento could have a tough time competing in the metro WDM market since GigaMux is essentially the same product it was in 2004, he adds.

For customers, Sorrento lists Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), Cox Communications Inc. , Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT), tw telecom inc. (Nasdaq: TWTC), and Yipes Enterprise Services Inc.

The original Sorrento was acquired by Zhone in mid-2004, ending yet another riches-to-rags tale of the telecom bubble. (See Zhone to Acquire Sorrento and Zhone Buys Sorrento.)

Sorrento was among the companies developing an all-optical switch but by 2000, it was having its share of troubles. A potential IPO got pulled that year, to the chagrin of investors, with Sorrento instead taking over its parent company at the time, Osicom Technologies. (See Osicom Investors Rebel, Sorrento Rides a Gilded Wave, and Osicom Prepares for Transformation.)

The company restructured in 2003 and acquired LuxN, providing some short-lived hope. (See Sorrento Bids for LuxN and Rocky Start for New Sorrento.)

— Ryan Lawler, Reporter, Light Reading

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