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JDS Uniphase Corp. share price up, plans to separate its optical from its networking businesses

The fiber-optic communications company JDS Uniphase Corp. revealed that it plans to split into two separate publicly traded companies by the third quarter of 2015.

JDS, whose market capitalization amounts to $2.78 billion, said it will separate producing optical components and commercial lasers in one entity and its network-testing equipment business in another.

“We believe two fundamentally focused companies best position us to stay ahead of the accelerating pace of technology change and to compete even more effectively across the unique markets we serve today,” Tom Waechter, JDS Uniphase’s chief executive officer, said in a statement, which was cited by Bloomberg.

According to people with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be named because the information is private, Sandell Asset Management, which holds a 2% stake in JDS, has been pushing the company towards a split-up. JDS spokesman Mr. Jim Monroe refused to make any comments on how Sandell is involved in the company.

“This is a strategy our board has been actively considering for some time now and that’s what drove today’s announcement,” Mr. Monroe said for Bloomberg.

Even in its good years, the company was rarely profitable, having posted an $18-million loss in the most recent fiscal year, with revenue at $1.74 billion. During its best year, in 2001, JDS registered an annual revenue of $3.2 billion, but a subsequent steep decline in sales of telecom fiber-optic components dragged on the companys development. After the split, the new company is to focus on optical components, commercial lasers and 3D sensing applications.

In addition, JDS reaffirmed its non-GAAP revenue projection for the fiscal first quarter ending in September. The company expects non-GAAP revenue in the range of $405 million to $425 million and profit excluding items of 8 cents to 12 cents a share.

JDS Uniphase Corp. rose by 3.37% on Wednesday to close at $12.11 per share on the NASDAQ, marking a one-year change of -19.73%. The company is valued at $2.78 billion. According to CNN Money, the 13 analysts offering 12-month price forecasts for JDS Uniphase Corp. have a median target of $14.00, with a high estimate of $16.00 and a low estimate of $11.00. The median estimate represents a +15.65% increase from the last price of $12.11.

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