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ONI Goes For IPO

Optical Networks Inc. (ONI) http://www.opticalnetworks.com this afternoon filed to hold an initial public offering.

That ends the debate over whether the vendor of metro core DWDM products would go for a big IPO pop or take the acquisition route -- and has left Cisco Systems Inc. http://www.cisco.com
looking in other directions for ways to round out its optical networking portfolio.

Until today, many pundits had predicted that ONI would take the acquisition course -- and most figured Cisco as the most likely buyer. They were basing that speculation on two facts: that Cisco was an investor in the company, and that ONI's HQ was practically on the Cisco campus in San Jose.

"I took one look at that building and thought that it was a not very subtle indication of where that company would end up," says the vice president of marketing at an optical networking start up, who spoke anonymously.

But it is not to be. Although it would be possible for Cisco to short circuit ONI's IPO by wading in with a Cerent-size offer, Carl Russo, group vice president for Cisco's optical networking group, was cold on the company during an interview with Light Reading this week at the OFC show in Baltimore. "They don't fit," he said.