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11 January 2008


Arasor acquires Novalux to control laser TV supply chain

Telecom and consumer optoelectronic device maker Arasor International Ltd of Mountain View, CA has acquired the assets of Novalux Inc of Sunnyvale, CA, USA through the issue of $7m in Arasor stock and the assumption of debt (with a direct financial impact of $20m collectively).

Novalux was founded in 1998 to manufacture its patented NECSEL (Novalux extended-cavity surface-emitting laser) devices for first telecom and then, more recently, display applications (e.g. laser TV, laser pocket projectors and laser cinema projectors). The firm raised more than $150m in venture capital from investors including Morgan Stanley Ventures, Crescendo Ventures, and Oerlikon Optics (an Arasor customer and light-engine manufacturer for a number of the world’s largest TV brands).

Last November, Novalux sold its gallium arsenide wafer fabrication facility to an undisclosed Silicon Valley company, and has outsourced wafer processing from its low-volume, quick-turn prototype fab to much larger-capacity contract manufacturers in Taiwan (a key step in meeting customer demand for high-volume consumer electronics applications in early 2008, according to Novalux’s chief operating officer William Mackenzie).

With the acquisition of Novalux, Arasor says that it can now provide an end-to-end solution in the manufacture of light sources in the laser display industry in order to realize the full potential of the joint venture that it formed last November with ZTE Corp (China’s largest listed telecoms equipment maker) for the manufacture of light sources and light engines in China.

“Arasor has control of the value chain, path to market and significant external capacity to finance the growth of the laser display market well into the next decade,” says the firm’s chief executive Dr Simon Cao.

Arasor reckons that the acquisition of Novalux should enable it to:

  • Double its revenue from the display market (as light engines can contain up to three Novalux laser chips and three Arasor optical chips).
  • Secure Seiko Epson, Young Optics, Oerlikon and other customers via exclusive licenses (as Arasor now owns the complete light source solution for laser TV).
  • Stimulate the display market with critical manufacturing infrastructure (funded by capital from the ZTE joint venture) for the $110bn display market.
  • Quickly secure a team of employees with vast experience in laser display and related technologies.

“We have experienced unprecedented growth in telecommunications products, and 2008 will see the scale-up of our consumer division to satisfy demand,” says Cao. With the imminent release of laser TVs, Arasor says it is able to provide a complete light-source solution for both the major brands and the ZTE joint venture. “This significantly increases our earnings potential and our ability to negotiate with large global customers,” reckons Cao. “Most importantly, no other company will be able to provide this unified solution,” he claims.

See related items:

Novalux outsources wafer processing

Arasor and ZTE form $300m laser display JV

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