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Luna snaps up Micron Optics in $5M acquisition

19 Oct 2018

Atlanta-based Micron specializes in tunable filters, swept lasers, and high-speed, long-distance optical sensing units.

The Nasdaq-listed fiber-optic technology vendor Luna Innovations has acquired Atlanta’s Micron Optics, in a cash deal worth up to $5 million.

Micron Optics sells fiber-optic sensing systems for a wide range of industrial applications, as well as a suite of photonic components including tunable filters, swept laser modules, and scanning interferometers.

According to Luna’s US Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) filing, the acquisition comprised an up-front payment of $4 million, with up to an additional $1 million payable in the future while some financial details of the deal are worked out.

Complementary offering
Although Virginia-headquartered Luna also sells fiber-optic sensing equipment and related components based on similar technologies, the company believes that the combined suite of products will be largely complementary.

“The combined product portfolio has the potential to provide customers with better capabilities and broader offerings, as Micron Optics brings products with higher speeds and longer measurement range,” noted the firm, adding:

“The acquisition also positions Luna to better penetrate its existing markets of aerospace and automotive, through access to an expanded product portfolio and broader customer base, including more direct access to customers in Asia through Micron Optics’ overseas sales channels.”

The move comes a couple of months after Luna sold its “OSI” optoelectronics business unit - and announced that it would use some of the $18.5 million proceeds from that deal to invest in its fiber-optic test and measurement platform.

Acquiring Micron Optics appears to meet that aim, with Luna’s CEO Scott Graeff saying that it “fits squarely” within Luna’s core technology platform and target markets, and will act as a catalyst to accelerate growth.

Scaling markets
In a conference call detailing the move, Graeff told investors: “[This is a] clean asset purchase that fits right into Luna’s sweet-spot. Micron Optics is a picture-perfect strategic acquisition.” The move will see around 30 employees switch to Luna.

Graeff added: “We are focused on scaling our two vertical markets - structural testing and sensing as well as communications testing - with a particular emphasis on the growing aerospace and automotive areas.” In particular, the Micron Optics products give Luna direct exposure to the oil and gas and civil engineering sectors.

Brian Soller, who heads up Luna’s “Lightwave” division and previously worked at Micron Optics, described the deal as a “perfect fit”, saying that the business would be immediately integrated into the company’s existing infrastructure.

Soller added that Micron Optics brought with it a strong portfolio of patents, with particular expertise in sensor systems based around high-speed tunable lasers.

One example of the kind of innovation that attracted Luna is a Fabry-Perot accelerometer product, said to be the first of its kind, that Micron Optics launched last year. It offers what the firm describes as unmatched sensitivity in ultra-small footprint, providing ease of installation in most applications.

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