Saturday, July 20, 2024

Nokia to acquire Infinera to increase scale in Optical Networks and accelerate product roadmap

Nokia and Infinera, a global supplier of innovative open optical networking solutions and advanced optical semiconductors, announced a definitive agreement under which Nokia will acquire Infinera in a transaction valuing the company at $6.65 per share or an enterprise value of US$ 2.3 billion. The transaction represents a premium of 28% to Infinera’s share price at the close of 26 June 2024 and a 37% premium to the trailing 180-day volume weighted average price (VWAP). At least 70% of the consideration will be paid in cash and Infinera’s shareholders can elect to receive up to 30% of the aggregate consideration in the form of Nokia ADSs. Nokia’s Board of Directors has committed to increase and accelerate Nokia’s share buyback program to offset the dilution from the deal.
Nokia and Infinera see a significant opportunity in merging to improve scale and profitability, enabling the combined business to accelerate the development of new products and solutions to benefit customers. The transaction aligns strongly with Nokia’s strategy, as it is expected to strengthen the company’s technology leadership in optical and increase exposure to webscale customers, the fastest growing segment of the market.

Nokia believes the transaction has compelling financial and strategic merit. The combination with Infinera is projected to accelerate Nokia’s journey to a double-digit operating margin in its Optical Networks business. Nokia targets to achieve EUR 200 million of net comparable operating profit synergies by 2027*. This transaction along with the recently announced sale of Submarine Networks will create a reshaped Network Infrastructure built on three strong pillars of Fixed Networks, IP Networks and Optical Networks. Nokia targets mid-single digit organic growth for the overall Network Infrastructure business and to improve its operating margin to mid-to-high teens level.

The transaction is expected to be accretive to Nokia’s comparable EPS in the first year post close and to deliver over 10% comparable EPS accretion by 2027*, with a return on invested capital (RoIC) comfortably above Nokia’s weighted average cost of capital (WACC).

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Pekka Lundmark, President and CEO of Nokia, said: “In 2021 we increased our organic investment in Optical Networks with a view to improving our competitiveness. That decision has paid off and has delivered improved customer recognition, strong sales growth and increased profitability. We believe now is the right time to take a compelling inorganic step to further expand Nokia’s scale in optical networks. The combined businesses have a strong strategic fit given their highly complementary customer, geographic and technology profiles. With the opportunity to deliver over 10% comparable EPS accretion, we believe this will create significant value for shareholders.”

Federico Guillén, President of Network Infrastructure at Nokia, said: “Today, Network Infrastructure offers a unique portfolio across the fixed access, optical and IP networks domains built on leading technology innovation and a strong customer focus. This acquisition will further strengthen the optical pillar of our business, expand our growth opportunities across all our target customer segments and improve our operating margin. I am extremely pleased that we are bringing together these two talented and dedicated teams. Separately, we have long respected each other as competitors. Together, we find the logic of combination irresistible.”

David Heard, CEO of Infinera, said: “We are really excited about the value this combination will bring to our global customers. We believe Nokia is an excellent partner and together we will have greater scale and deeper resources to set the pace of innovation and address rapidly changing customer needs at a time when optics are more important than ever – across telecom networks, inter-data center applications, and now inside the data center. This combination will further leverage our vertically integrated optical semiconductor technologies. Furthermore, our stakeholders will have the opportunity to participate in the upside of a global leader in optical networking solutions.”

Compelling strategic benefits for Nokia, Infinera and customers

  • Improving global scale and product roadmap: The combination will increase the scale of Nokia’s Optical Networks business by 75%, enabling it to accelerate its product roadmap timeline and breadth; providing better products for customers and creating a business that can sustainably challenge the competition.
  • The combined business will have significant in-house capabilities, including an expanded digital signal processor (DSP) development team, expertise across silicon photonics and indium phosphide-based semiconductor material sciences, and deeper competency in photonic integrated circuit (PIC) technology. The result will be a strong innovative player with a deep and diverse pool of optical networking talent and expertise.
  • Gaining scale in North America optical market: The two companies have limited customer overlap, putting the combined business in a strong position in all regions (excluding China). Infinera has built a solid presence in the North America optical market, representing ~60% of its sales, which will improve Nokia’s optical scale in the region and complement Nokia’s strong positions in APAC, EMEA and Latin America.
  • Building on Nokia’s commitment to investment in US-based manufacturing and advanced testing and packaging capabilities.
  • Accelerating Nokia’s expansion into enterprise and particularly webscale: The combination of these two businesses is also expected to accelerate Nokia’s strategic goal of diversifying its customer base and growing in enterprise. Internet content providers (ICP or webscale as Nokia typically calls this segment) make up over 30% of Infinera’s sales. With recent wins in line systems and pluggables, Infinera is well established in this fast-growing market. Infinera has also recently been developing high-speed and low-power optical components for use in intra-data center (ICE-D) applications and which are particularly suited to AI workloads which can become a very attractive long-term growth opportunity. Overall, the acquisition offers an opportunity for a step change in Nokia’s penetration into webscale customers.
  • Net comparable operating profit synergies of EUR 200 million: The combination is expected to deliver EUR 200 million of net comparable operating profit synergies by 2027*. Approximately one third of the synergies are expected to come from cost of sales due to supply chain efficiencies and the remainder from operating expenses due to portfolio optimization and integration along with reduced product engineering costs and standalone entity costs. Nokia expects one-time integration costs of approximately EUR 200 million related to the transaction.
  • Creating value for shareholders: The transaction is expected to be accretive to Nokia’s comparable operating profit and EPS in year 1 and to deliver more than 10% comparable EPS accretion in 2027*. Nokia also expects the deal to deliver a return on invested capital (RoIC) comfortably above Nokia’s weighted average cost of capital (WACC). In addition, Infinera’s investors will have the opportunity to participate in the exciting upside of investing in a global leader in optical networking solutions.

SOURCE: Globenewswire

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