News bites: The Coherent courting continues
Also included in our late afternoon summary of news and comment: An update on the men caught up in Huawei's crossfire, Sling TV adds a new TV bundle and Comcast launches vaccine info resources.
Lumentum CEO: Coherent is a 'gem'
During the Goldman Sachs Technology conference this week, Lumentum CEO Alan Lowe made the case for the combination of his business with Coherent. [The presentation is here; registration required.]
Lumentum offered to buy laser specialist Coherent for a combined price of $5.7 billion on January 19. Earlier this week, MKS Instruments made an offer worth $6 billion in cash and stock for Coherent. Coherent said it is exploring both options.
"I think [Coherent] is the gem of the laser industry and one that we really feel will provide value to the Coherent shareholders and value to the Lumentum shareholders," Lumentum's Lowe said, according to an event transcript. "And putting the two great teams together, I think will drive innovation even faster and further. If you look at our lasers business, we are underserving the laser industry, and it's the smallest part of our business today. With Coherent, it fills that out. And so if you look at our lasers business, fairly small, and their lasers business, it's very complementary from a product standpoint."
On the subject of Lumentum's telecom business, Lowe, like many CEOs in this industry, sees the network buildout accelerating, especially since the telcos have spent so much to secure spectrum.
"So 5G becomes more prevalent, demand for bandwidth is going to continue to grow. And the network providers are spending a bunch more on spectrum," Lowe said, according to a transcript. "To me, that's a good thing, because they're not going to spend that much on spectrum if they're not going to use it and monetize that. And so my expectations are that as more and more of the vaccines get rolled out, networks are going to get deployed. And as new products that need a little bit extra handholding as they get deployed, at 400-gig, 600- and 800-gig in transmission … we're positioned very well to take advantage of that rollout of new networks for that spectrum that has been gobbled up."
Huawei and the 'hostages'
The Chinese government is still holding two Canadians – Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig – in custody as apparent retaliation for the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver back in December 2018. In The Wall Street Journal's latest update to the story, the former deputy national security adviser, Matthew Pottinger, is said to have described the men as "hostages" and is quoted as saying their release would be "part of any kind of settlement that could possibly occur between the Department of Justice and Huawei." Huawei's continued claims that it operates independently from the Chinese government are rendered all the more unbelievable when one considers the trouble China is going through just to pressure Canada into releasing Meng.
Sling TV tunes in Locast
Sling TV has integrated Locast into its guide for the AirTV Mini. The combo ties together Sling TV, the Dish-owned streaming service; Locast, the free streamer of local TV broadcast stations; and the AirTV Mini, an Android TV-powered streaming dongle from Dish targeted to cord-cutters.
The combo is a less expensive way for consumers to access local broadcast TV channels without paying the higher price of traditional pay-TV. Locast, which is locked in a legal battle with ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox, recently announced it has surpassed 2.3 million registered users. Last November, Locast chairman and founder David Goodfriend told Light Reading that the non-profit had achieved operational sustainability.
Comcast, NBCU take shot at driving COVID-19 vaccine awareness
Comcast and NBCUniversal are striking back at the pandemic with "Plan Your Vaccine," a nationwide awareness campaign that features a web-based tool that provides news and info about when and where people can receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The online resource, based on news and data from the NBCUniversal News Group, helps visitors navigate the vaccine rollout process by state, understand if they are currently eligible to receive the vaccine, track distribution timelines, and find the closest vaccination location.
In other news...
- Jeep pulls Springsteen ad after finding out about his DUI arrest.
- Finns make a giant snowflake design on a snowy golf course.
- Go on, make some banana bread.
Have a good evening, snowbirds.
— Phil Harvey, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading
Light Reading's Jeff Baumgartner contributed to this report.