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Economic Conditions Stifle Storage Plans

Economic woes originating in the telecom and information technology sectors worldwide have rippled into the networked storage market, stifling a range of near-term plans.

Yesterday, for instance, Finisar Corp. (Nasdaq: FNSR) announced termination of plans to buy privately held Marlow Industries Inc., a Dallas-based maker of thermoelectric coolers (see Finisar Ends Merger Plans).

Back in February 2001, Finisar said it would purchase Marlow for $300 million in cash and stock, hoping to combine Marlow's expertise in cooling systems with Finisar's components.

Early in June, the purchase price had moved to $30 million and 12.9 million shares of common stock. Finally, talks broke down altogether this week, and Finisar blamed the telecom slowdown.

"A not-insignificant part of Marlow's revenue last year was derived from sales in the long-haul telecommunications market," says Steve Workman, Finisar's CFO. Although Finisar doesn't sell into that sector, Finisar apparently believed it important for Marlow to stay out of financial straits while the two blended their technologies.