Test and Measurement: EXFO board rejects Viavi’s latest offer

EXFO’s board of directors has rejected a third acquisition offer from Viavi Solutions, in the face of unequivocal opposition from EXFO’s founder, chairman and controlling shareholder.

The board was faced with two competing offers: A recent go-private offer from Chairman Germaine Lamonde at $6 per share, and a counter-offer this week from Viavi Solutions at $7.50 per share, which would value EXFO at about $430 million and followed on two earlier attempts by Viavi to acquire EXFO at a lower per-share price.

Lamonde directly or indirectly controls 61.46% of the issued and outstanding shares of EXFO and 93.53% of the voting rights associated with those shares. In response to Viavi’s offer, Lamonde put out a public statement saying that he has repeatedly made it clear to the board that he would not consider any transaction with Viavi, including the latest one. (Read the full story here.)

In its own statement issued yesterday, EXFO’s board of directors said that while it had considered Viavi’s offer in a meeting with advisors from which Lamonde and CEO Phillippe Morin had recused themselves, “The unambiguous statement by the Controlling Shareholder that he rejects [Viavi’s proposal] led EXFO’s Board of Directors to conclude that it will not pursue the proposal as it is not capable of being completed.”

EXFO shareholders will still be offered the details of Lamonde’s proposed transaction, with a special meeting of shareholders to be held July 30. The choice for EXFO’s minority shareholders is either to accept Lamonde’s go-private offer, or for EXFO to remain a public company.

In other test news:

-Aside from the ownership back-and-forth, EXFO had other news this week. The company said that U.K. fiber network operator Hyperoptic, has chosen EXFO to support its ambitious network expansion plans across the U.K. Hyperoptic says it provides average speeds of 900 Mbps to residential locations in more than 40 U.K. towns and cities, and that it is expanding its footprint via partnerships with more than 250 developers and 50 councils. Hyperoptic focuses exclusively on serving dense urban areas.

“Building it right the first time with high-tech network testing means that we will not only serve today’s customers, but generations to come,” said John Rich, head of test and diagnostics at Hyperoptic. “EXFO’s Nova Fiber technology is the best of both worlds in that it is an off-the-shelf solution that is also highly flexible and customizable to our exacting needs, tailored to our engineers’ existing applications.”

-Meanwhile, Viavi Solutions this week launched a streamlined version of its flagship TM500 Network Tester, the TMLite, which Viavi says provides a software environment and user experience on-par with the TM500 on a commercial off-the-shelf server. TMLite tests “can be compared with TM500 insights for efficient parallel testing and high-quality product development,” Viavi said, adding that the new offering will enable the deployment of functional test tools earlier in the development cycle and allow smaller vendors to leverage those capabilities as well. The TMLite supports functional, system and performance testing, including for 5G Standalone features in sub-6 GHz and millimeter-wave frequencies, FDD and TDD and up to 4×4 MIMO, and provides the RF, baseband and higher-layer processing for one 5G NR carrier on a single COTS server, the company said.

“In order to prove the quality of their products in an ever-widening competitive field, small cell manufacturers and new market entrants need early access to the same 3GPP feature set as established vendors,” said Ian Langley, VP and GM of Viavi’s wireless business unit. “We have harnessed our decades of experience in lab test tools for both cellular and virtualized networks to develop a test environment tailored to their technical requirements and budgets.”

Keysight Technolgoies has made a number of announcements recently, including unveiling its new Nemo Network Benchmarking (NBM) solution, aimed at helping operators to assess end-user quality of experience in 5G and LTE networks. The drive-test set-up can support up to 48 mobile devices, Keysight said, and test data, voice, streaming services and over-the-top applications for multiple networks at once.

In addition, Keysight said that its test solutions enabled Samsung to establish and validate a Release 16 5G NR data call, that testing and certification company Auden will be using its offerings to validate Open RAN interface specifications and that it recently support a demonstration of physical design validation for 800 gigabit Ethernet in a quad small form factor pluggable double density (QSFP-DD800), running full line-rate Ethernet speeds of 100G PAM4 electrical lanes. The multi-company demo also included Cisco and Amphenol.

Keysight also recently expanded its B2B online sales for some of its most popular offerings to include the U.K. and more than two dozen countries in the European Union (the expanded site is here)

Rootmetrics put out its most recent assessment of U.S. 5G networks this week, and its accolades continue to be split among the three national carriers, with each network receiving the top spot in a different category: AT&T’s 5G network scored the highest on download speeds, T-Mobile US snagged the top spot for 5G availability and Verizon’s was tops for reliability. Read that full story here.

The post Test and Measurement: EXFO board rejects Viavi’s latest offer appeared first on RCR Wireless News.

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