Optical components

Source: Anda, Polaris Deal Is Off

An Anda Networks Inc. acquisition of Polaris Networks was scrapped at the 11th hour due to conflict among the companies’ VC backers, one well placed source says. If a deal can't be salvaged, Polaris must pursue other options which could include closure and liquidation.

On March 3, Anda and Polaris had all but inked a deal before an 11th-hour meltdown, our source says. Polaris CEO Surya Panditi had addressed his employees at a lunchtime meeting that day, saying that the Anda deal would close the following Monday (see Anda Closes In on Polaris). Later that afternoon, however, the employees were told the deal was off.

What happened? Our source confirms earlier reports that Venrock Associates and optical networking savant Wu-fu Chen, the two venture capital partners common to both Anda and Polaris, were pushing for the deal early this month. In the end, however, the other VC firms involved were not happy with the financial implications of an acquisition, so the deal stalled.

Anda CEO Charles Kenmore and the venture capitalists involved with both companies declined to comment for this story.

Panditi wouldn't confirm our source's observations, but he also left the possibilities of a deal wide open. “As I have told you in the past, we will continue talking with other companies, and I will be happy to keep you updated as we go forward,” he told Light Reading on Friday.

Panditi says his company is “continuing to work with our customers” and “meeting with other prospective customers.”

Anda, for its part, took a more defensive stance but also denied the story.

“Frankly I don’t know where you are getting the information to write all these stories and speculation,” said Frances W. Wang, Anda's senior director of corporate strategies and alliances. “There is nothing unusual about two companies with similar interests and that share the same venture capital partners to have discussions.”

When asked to confirm or deny the specifics of Light Reading's prior coverage of the saga, Wang replied: “No, no, I’m not going to comment on that.”

Polaris began in the boom year 2000, developed a very strong product and sales plan, but simply languished in telecom’s post-boom nuclear winter.

Panditi told Light Reading in January that his company’s willingness to be acquired was closely related to its difficulties getting face time with large carriers.

The San Jose, Calif.-based company has been subsisting on the $77 million in venture capital it has raised to date.

— Mark Sullivan, Reporter, Light Reading

startup_shutup 12/5/2012 | 3:23:48 AM
re: Source: Anda, Polaris Deal Is Off rest assured that everyone is behaving rationally -- excess needed to be offset in painfully enduring manner. It is all KARMA!!
skey 12/5/2012 | 3:23:47 AM
re: Source: Anda, Polaris Deal Is Off If you knew Polaris, you would know that it is not KARMA. It is FENG SHUI!!
startup_shutup 12/5/2012 | 3:23:43 AM
re: Source: Anda, Polaris Deal Is Off I would like to know how come FENG SHUI be SO
important to some startups??? I mean if I see
this happening in any startups where I might
work (as if that is going to happen :-)) .....
I would search for jobs IMMEDIATELY!!
Sibylle 12/5/2012 | 3:23:37 AM
re: Source: Anda, Polaris Deal Is Off or relative sanity, I should say.

Only demonstrates how hard it is even for companies - even with revenue - but no clear confident path to profitability - to survive in a non-bubble environment.
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