June 18, 2010

JDSU buys Agilent group, keeps workers in Loveland

Loveland has a new high-tech employer thanks to the divesture of one of Agilent Technologies’ legacy groups.

JDS Uniphase Corp. closed on the purchase of Agilent’s Network Services Division in May. Under the terms of the deal announced in February, JDSU paid $165 million for the division including 700 employees, with 55 located in Loveland and 105 in Colorado Springs.

All Agilent employees involved in the group were retained by JDSU, according to company spokesman Jim Monroe. He explained that there were no material redundancies between Agilent’s network services division and the group at JDSU that is absorbing it – communications test and measurement.

JDSU has historically been an optical components supplier, serving clients such as Cisco and Nortel. About five years ago, however, the company embarked on a diversification strategy that now has its technology deployed in everything from wireless communications, 3-D movies and even automotive paint. Since 2005, JDSU acquired more than a dozen companies (see breakout).

Today, the business lines are divided into three segments: communications test and measurement; optical components, where it competes with another Agilent spinoff and NoCo employer, Avago; and advanced optical technologies.

With the NSD acquisition, test and measurement is now the largest segment for JDSU. Before the divestiture, the division accounted for about $162 million of Agilent’s, electronic measurement business unit’s $2.4 billion in revenue. For its fiscal third quarter, ended on April 3, JDSU’s communication segment netted $466 million, with total revenue for the company at just over $1 billion.

Monroe explained that the NSD acquisition brings JDSU top-line technology in the burgeoning wireless market. Specifically, the former Agilent group is a leader in LTE (Long Term Evolution) and 4G wireless network testing. The company serves customers at home – such as Verizon and AT&T – as well as abroad, including Deutsche Telekom.

Growth in the wireless market is increasingly important to JDSU as the technology becomes increasingly important around the world. In many developing nations, people who never had access to traditional telephones are now avid users of wireless telecommunications products. Not only are there more users of wireless technology, but the users are also doing more as smartphones gobble up more and more network capacity.

“Bandwidth demand is booming, and that’s not going to change,” Monroe said, adding that it continued its upward trajectory throughout the recession. “In a highly competitive market, you cannot let down on quality or network reliability.”

JDSU, thanks in large part to the newly acquired technology, will be able to provide hardware, software and support to monitor the most advanced wireless networks. The goal is to identify weaknesses before they result in quality-of-service issues.

For Agilent, the divesture is also part of a strategy that has the company moving away from communications and toward life sciences. The company reorganized its divisions last year into electronic measurement, life sciences and chemical analysis – all of which have operations in Loveland. The company recently closed on a $1.5 billion acquisition of Varian Inc., a provider of laboratory instrumentation, cementing its commitment to the life sciences market.

Kristen Tatti covers technology for the Northern Colorado Business Report. She can be reached at 970-221-5400, ext. 219 or ktatti@ncbr.com.

Loveland has a new high-tech employer thanks to the divesture of one of Agilent Technologies’ legacy groups.

JDS Uniphase Corp. closed on the purchase of Agilent’s Network Services Division in May. Under the terms of the deal announced in February, JDSU paid $165 million for the division including 700 employees, with 55 located in Loveland and 105 in Colorado Springs.

All Agilent employees involved in the group were retained by JDSU, according to company spokesman Jim Monroe. He explained that there were no material redundancies between Agilent’s network services division and the group at JDSU that is absorbing…

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