Nokia Siemens Networks has decided that optical networking isn’t central to its strategy after all. The troubled company has reached an agreement to sell its optical business to Marlin Equity Partners for an undisclosed sum.
Last year Nokia Siemens said it would shed 17,000 jobs as part of drive to save €1 billion in annual operating expenses. The slimmed-down organisation wants to become a leading mobile broadband specialist (see NSN refocuses on mobile broadband and services).
Marlin Equity intends to operate the optical business as an independent company based in Munich and led by its existing management team. Herbert Merz, the head of optical networks at Nokia Siemens, has been nominated as chief executive officer. Up to 1,900 employees from the optical business unit and related functions – mainly in Germany, Portugal, and China – are expected to transfer to the new company. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2013.
Marlin Equity Partners, a private investment firm managing more than $1 billion in assets, sees itself as a consolidator in the optical industry “building an industry leader in the fragmented optical networking sector”, according to the press release statement. This is the company’s second recent purchase in the optical space, having picked up the assets of Sycamore Networks’ intelligent bandwidth management business in October.
“We are making a major commitment to this sector, and have significant capital under management that we intend to use as a catalyst for consolidation,” said Nick Kaiser, a co-founder and partner at Marlin Equity Partners.
By Pauline Rigby