As the densification of LTE networks continues in advance of commercial 5G deployments–expected to pick up in the 2019-2020 timeframe, although Verizon has announced commercial 5G fixed wireless access availability in the second half of 2018–the importance of fiber to the communications business has been repeatedly punctuated as of late.

Corning is a major player in the fiber optics business, and, as it relates to Verizon, has a $1 billion, three-year deal with the U.S. carrier to supply 12.4 million miles of optical fiber per year from 2018 to 2020. Further growing its optical business, industrial giant 3M announced Dec. 11 it will sell its optical, copper, structured cabling and, in some countries, system integration, business to Corning for $900 million.

The sale includes 3M product lines  xDSL and FTTx, which comprise fiber closures, terminals, connectors splicers, adapters, distribution units and a similar set of tools for copper cabling.

“After completing a thorough strategic review, we believe that this business will be well positioned with Corning,” Ashish Khandpur, executive vice president, Electronics & Energy Business Group, said in a statement. “I want to thank our Communication Markets Division team for their outstanding contributions.”

Pending closing and regulatory approvals, the sale is expected to be finalized next year. According to the company, “Approximately 500 3M employees are expected to join Corning upon completion of the transaction.” The sale price reflects a gain of about 40-cents per share for 3M, which is using Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC as its financial advisor.



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