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Corning to Boost Cloud Data-Center Market with AFOP Buyout

In a bid to strengthen its foothold in the cloud data-center market, Corning Inc. GLW has agreed to take over Alliance Fiber Optic Products Inc. AFOP for $18.50 a share or a total amount of $350 million.

The offer price represents a premium of 20% over Alliance Fiber Optic’s closing price of $15.46 on Thursday. The acquisition is expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2016, subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.

Based in Sunnyvale, CA, Alliance Fiber is an established supplier of fiber interconnect providers to data centers and telecom original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). The company keeps on innovating to cater to next-generation high bandwidth applications. It also makes other fiber-optic related products namely, cabinets, cable and housings, among others. Some of these components are already used in a number of Corning's products.

Alliance Fiber’s optical communications and access business have seen impressive growth in recent times. Also, of late, increasing capital expenditure in data-center markets is driving abundant commercial opportunities for fiber optic infrastructure providers.

Therefore, this deal will expand Corning’s product portfolio to better serve some of the fastest growing segments in the technology market, including the cloud data-center market and optical networking. It will gain competitive advantage in tapping the cloud-data center market that is currently witnessing phenomenal demand.

Additionally, the deal is expected to be accretive to the company’s profits during the first year of operation.

Corning said that “it expects the acquisition to expand its market access to cloud data-center operators and OEMs, broaden its presence in Asia, and provide product and cost synergies.”

Post acquisition, Corning will integrate AFOP into its Optical Communications business segment. Optical Communications contributed 33% of revenue in the last reported fourth quarter. It fell 1.5% sequentially but grew 8.9% from the year-ago quarter, slightly surpassing Corning’s guidance.  

Corning is a worldwide provider of connectivity solutions. It is continuously on the lookout for strategic acquisitions that will enhance its market share and expand its geographic base. In 2015, Corning acquired Canada-based iBwave, a provider of design-software for in-building wireless solutions, to expand its in-building wireless portfolio. It also took over California-based TR Manufacturing, a provider of fiber-optic and copper cable/component interconnects and electro-mechanical assemblies to original equipment manufacturers, further expanding its optical business.

Corning currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Some better-ranked stocks in the industry are Arista Networks, Inc. ANET and Arista Networks, Inc. AUDC, both carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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