Altitun AB, a Swedish optical components company backed by Kennet Capital, the venture capital fund focused on the European Technology sector, has been acquired by US company, ADC Telecommunications, Inc. (Nasdaq:ADCT) for approximately US$872 million. The value of the transaction sets a new record for the highest price paid for an early-stage European technology company. Kennet Capital invested £1 million in Altitun in October 1999.
Altitun, a world leader in tunable laser technology, has developed a set of products which enable telecoms providers to deploy high-bandwidth networks at lower costs. The tunable laser has practical applications in both existing and next-generation optical networks. While currently deployed telecommunications lasers only emit light at a single wavelength, tunable lasers can emit light at multiple wavelengths, significantly reducing the overall cost of deploying WDM (Wavelength Division Multiplexing) based telecommunications networks.
Founded in 1997, Altitun has offices in Sweden, the US and the UK.
Commenting on the acquisition, Michael Elias, managing director of Kennet Capital and a director of Altitun, said: “This is a landmark transaction and one which demonstrates the strength of European technology in the optical communications sector. Altitun’s partnership with a top tier global company such as ADC will enable it to consolidate its position as a leading vendor of semiconductor tunable lasers. ”
Other recent Kennet portfolio successes include Paragon Software, a provider of software for wireless devices, which was sold in February this year to Phone.com (Nasdaq: PHCM) for US$515 million, and No Wires Needed, a leading Dutch developer of wireless LAN technology, which has signed an agreement to be acquired by Intersil (Nasdaq: ISIL), a leader in the development of communications semiconductors.
Kennet Capital was established in 1997 as a joint venture between Broadview, a leading global investment bank focused on the IT, Communications and Media industries, and Electra Managers Ltd, an international private equity group. Kennet invests exclusively in European information and communications businesses and contributes actively in the strategy of those businesses. Investment size is typically between £2 and £4 million, and ranges from start-up financings to development stage capital. To date, Kennet Capital has invested in 14 businesses from its £48 million venture capital fund. Recent investments by Kennet Capital include: E-Marketing, a leading UK-based e-business consultancy; PipingHot Networks, a developer of broadband fixed wireless communications; Aspective, an enterprise ASP providing integrated front office and e-commerce services to European businesses; Cramer Systems, a supplier of service delivery solutions to the telecoms industry; CitiKey, a developer of location-based WAP-content for wireless devices; and Interance (formerly Polisys), an e-commerce enabler for the insurance industry.
Altitun AB (www.altitun.com) provides a full tunable laser product line, designed to help systems vendors and carriers reduce costs today and drive the all-optical networks of tomorrow. Altitun is the provider of the world’s most complete tunable laser product line. It is the first tunable laser company to offer an integrated electronics control package that ensures easy management and integration.