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LightSand Buys SANcastle

LightSand Communications Corp. has signed a definitive agreement to acquire SANcastle Technologies Inc., and as part of the transaction both startups' VCs will pour $7 million of additional funding into the combined venture.

LightSand CEO Philip Black, in an interview with Byte and Switch, says the deal involved a stock swap among four venture capital firms: LightSand's VCs, Fremont Group and Baring Private Equity Partners Asia; and SANcastle's backers, Concord Ventures and Genesis Partners.

The agreement brings together two small storage networking players that have approached the SAN extension market from different endpoints: LightSand sells equipment that extends Fibre Channel over Sonet networks, while SANcastle's equipment sends FC traffic over IP networks. It's Fibre Channel over whatever!

"We end up with a product line that goes from FC-over-Sonet at the high end all the way to Fibre Channel over IP," says Black, claiming that the new company will have a broader product line than either CNT (Nasdaq: CMNT) or Nishan Systems Inc.

Black says the deal is expected to close in about three weeks. "The deal was off and on -- and on and off -- due to technical and legal reasons," he says. LightSand had received about $30 million in funding to date; SANcastle had raised $34 million. Industry speculation that the two companies would hook up have circulated for several weeks (see More Beaver Tales).

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