Kaiam to acquire Gemfire assets

March 20, 2013
MEMS-based photonic integrated circuit company Kaiam Corp. says it has agreed to acquire GC Holdings, Inc., the parent corporation of Gemfire Corp. and Gemfire Europe, Ltd. The deal will provide Kaiam with additional planar-lightwave circuit (PLC) expertise, a fab in Scotland, some new funding, and a new chairman.

MEMS-based photonic integrated circuit company Kaiam Corp. says it has agreed to acquire GC Holdings, Inc., the parent corporation of Gemfire Corp. and Gemfire Europe, Ltd. The deal will provide Kaiam with additional planar-lightwave circuit (PLC) expertise, a fab in Scotland, some new funding, and a new chairman.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Kaiam uses MEMS technology to create photonic integrated circuits that overcome the coupling issues that other approaches have difficulty solving. Optical engines based on Kaiam’s approach are being delivered to Tier 1 customers, particularly for QSFP+ LR4 applications (see "Kaiam debuts with 40-Gbps LR4 transmitter, receiver optical subassemblies"). The company was already working with Gemfire, according to Dr. Bardia Pezeshki, Kaiam CEO.

In addition to gaining full access to Gemfire’s 8-inch silicon wafer fab in Livingston, Scotland, and intellectual property, closing of the transaction will see “substantial” new equity financing for Kaiam, with Gemfire’s investors participating. In recognition of this investment, Magnus Ryde, current president and CEO of GC Holdings will become the new chairman of Kaiam when the deal is consummated. Marc van den Berg of Technology Venture Partners will join the Kaiam Board of Directors as well.

“Our favorable cost structure and the best performing silicon PLC’s are a result of our historical commitments and previous investments in advanced research, materials science, and manufacturing infrastructure,” Ryde said via a press release. The combination of the two companies allows us to rapidly use key elements, such as our athermal platform, to achieve a higher level of overall module performance.”

“Ultimately, it’s about specifications and cost, not technological bravado,” added Pezeshki in the same release. “Our integration engine allows us to use the most efficient lasers, the lowest-loss components, and wastes the fewest electrons and photons, yielding the lowest power consumption and the best operating characteristics. The technology leverages silicon processing and is rapid, efficient, automated, and therefore lowest cost. This merger gives us the ability to match the silicon PLC technology to our platform, cementing our leadership position in the market.”

For more information on optical subsystems, visit the Lightwave Buyer’s Guide.

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