Optical components maker II-VI jumps into fray for Coherent with $6.4 billion bid

(Reuters) – Optical components maker II-VI Inc has offered to buy laser maker Coherent for about $6.4 billion, entering a bidding war for a larger share of a market tipped to benefit from rising adoption of 5G networks and consumer electronics.

Coherent agreed to a $5.7 billion deal with optical fiber specialist and Apple Inc supplier Lumentum Holdings last month, and weeks later received a $6 billion rival offer from MKS Instruments.

The company has said its largest unit, microelectronics, was poised to get a lift from demand for flat panel displays and organic light emitting diodes such as the ones in Apple’s latest iPhones.

“Coherent’s just beginning a cyclical upturn,” said Mark Miller of Benchmark, adding that the market estimates the company’s earnings to go up considerably over the next eighteen months.

II-VI on Friday made a cash-and-stock offer that valued Coherent at $260 per share, a premium of 14.6% to the stock’s last close.

The offer, II-VI said, represented a premium of 24% to the implied value of the Coherent-Lumentum deal and a 9.8% premium to MKS’ offer.

Shares of Coherent jumped 14%, while II-VI’s stock slipped 5%. Lumentum and MKS rose 2% and 3%, respectively.

Coherent said it was reviewing II-VI’s offer while its board continued to back the Lumentum deal.

Lumentum and II-VI have been involved in the sector’s consolidation. In 2018, Lumentum bought optical components maker Oclaro for $1.8 billion, while II-VI purchased Apple-supplier Finisar for about $3.2 billion.

II-VI on Friday also said its offer was more likely to pass muster with regulators.

“Since II-VI has substantially less product overlap with Coherent than either Lumentum or MKS, II-VI believes there is greater certainty of closing”, the company said.

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