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Ciena Plunks Down $45M for Akara

Ciena Corp. (Nasdaq: CIEN) appears to be forging a unique industry strategy on what to do when you have heavy losses: Spend more money!

In reporting a quarter marred by heavy losses, the company also announced plans to acquire SAN-over-Sonet startup Akara Corp. for $45 million (see Ciena to Acquire Akara and Ciena Reduces Q3 Loss).

It's an interesting twist in an industry filled with companies retrenching to save money. In fact, Ciena's approach appears to be diametrically opposed to that being pursued by Sycamore Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: SCMR), which has cut things to the bone and is sitting tight on its piles of cash (see Sycamore Slouches After Earnings).

In a conference call with Wall Street analysts this morning, Ciena CEO Gary Smith said the deal is part of Ciena's ongoing effort to diversify its product line and customer base and transform itself from a maker of core optical networking gear into a "networking solutions provider."

The Akara deal is part of Ciena's push into SAN/enterprise networking, a major driver of metro networking.

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