First exit from Lucent portfolio

Coller Capital has witnessed the first realisation from the portfolio of technology investments it acquired from Lucent Technologies earlier this year. US-based Celiant, a specialist in power amplifiers and radio frequency subsystems for 2G and 3G wireless systems is to be acquired by Andrew Corporation, a global manufacturer of communications equipment, systems and services. The transaction is valued at $470 million and is subject to regulatory approval.

Coller recently acquired an 80% interest in the Lucent portfolio, renamed New Venture Partners II and Lucent retained the remaining 20%. Lucent originally invested $100 million in the venture and a source close to the deal said that Coller acquired the businesses at a substantial discount.

Celiant has achieved a successful exit just a year after it was founded. The company was spun out of the Mobility Solutions and Bell Labs units of Lucent Technologies in June 2001 and over 1 million Celiant amplifiers and amplifier modules are already in use in base stations worldwide.

Floyd English, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Andrew will serve as chairman and chief executive officer of the combined company. Ralph Faison, president and chief executive officer of Celiant will become Andrew’s president and chief operating officer. English said: “The $20 billion wireless infrastructure market is projected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of at least 20 percent. With this acquisition we will be able to move closer to our goal, set in 1998, to add $500 million in sales from new products and markets by the end of 2002.”

Andrew Garman of the fund manager, New Venture Partners, said: “Once we had negotiated the terms, the deal came together extraordinarily quickly. Both Celiant and Andrew Corporation saw what a great fit it was.”

Looking at the rest of the portfolio Garman said: “It’s really hard to tell which ones are going to spring loose. We have been looking at M&A opportunities because the IPO market in the US hasn’t opened up again yet.” He said the portfolio in general is progressing well. “There have been discussions about further mergers that would be useful to our liquidity, but nothing we can mention as yet.”