March 12, 2018 / 10:48 AM / 8 months ago

UPDATE 2-Optics tech firm Lumentum buys Oclaro for $1.7 billion

(Adds comments from analyst, conf. call, background; updates shares)

March 12 (Reuters) - Laser and optical fiber specialist Lumentum Holdings Inc, seen by analysts as a parts supplier for Apple's Face ID technology, will buy optical components producer Oclaro Inc for about $1.7 billion in cash and stock.

Announcing the deal on Monday, California-based Lumentum said the purchase was aimed at broadening its portfolio of laser offerings and getting an edge in a fast-developing market for 3D sensing technology.

Technology sector analysts say Lumentum is the primary supplier of vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs) that power the Face ID, Animoji and portrait mode features in Apple Inc's premium iPhone X.

However, neither Apple nor Lumentum have publicly said that this is the case.

The offer price of $9.99 per share, consisting of $5.60 in cash and 0.0636 of a share of Lumentum common stock, represents a premium of 27.3 percent to Oclaro's closing price of $7.85 on Friday.

Oclaro was up as much as 25.7 percent at $9.87. Lumentum rose as much as 7.3 percent, hitting a record of $74.03 in early trading.

"The long awaited industry consolidation may have just started with Lumentum announcing they will be acquiring Oclaro," Piper Jaffray analyst Troy Jensen said in a note.

Shares of its peers Finisar Corp and NeoPhotonics Corp were up nearly 3 percent, while Applied Optoelectronics Inc jumped about 8 percent.

"Investors have been waiting for this industry to consolidate for the past 2-3 years given too many companies are chasing the same customers and the industry has massive redundant research and development expenses," Jensen added.

The deal helps Lumentum add Oclaro's wafer fabs in UK, Japan and Italy to its existing capacity, while it is looking to ramp up production of 3D sensing laser chips.

Apple had awarded $390 million to rival Finisar in December to boost production of laser chips.

"We're pretty excited about adding this fab capability ... to be able to tackle the really huge pipeline of 3D sensing designs that we've got in front of us," said Lumentum's Chief Executive Officer Alan Lowe on a post-earnings call.

The deal is expected to immediately add to Lumentum's adjusted earnings per share, the companies said in a joint statement.

Lumentum intends to fund the cash consideration with a combination of cash from the combined companies' balance sheets and $550 million in debt financing.

Oclaro, which makes optical components for data center markets said its stockholders are expected to own about 16 percent of the combined company when the deal closes.

Deutsche Bank Securities served as financial adviser to Lumentum and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati as legal counsel, while Jefferies LLC was the financial adviser to Oclaro and Jones Day the legal counsel. (Reporting by Sonam Rai and Arjun Panchadar in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham)

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