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OPTICAL ACCESS TO GO PUBLIC ANALYSTS SAY MRV'S INITIAL OFFERING MAY BE ILL-TIMED.

Byline: Robert Monroe Staff Writer

CHATSWORTH - MRV Communications will take its Optical Access subsidiary public in a deal it hopes is worth $108 million, the company said Friday.

Optical Access makes wireless communications equipment that can provide Internet connections of one gigabit per second, almost 600 times faster than the quickest business connections now available.

While MRV thinks the offer will be a moneymaker, according to its initial public offering filing, analysts suggest it would be wise to delay it. The stock market in general, and tech stocks in particular, have been hard hit by a bearish climate.

``Right now this looks like a pretty bad time to be trying to be making an IPO offering,'' said Randall Roth, a research analyst at Renaissance Capital, a Greenwich, Conn.-based company that offers an IPO-based mutual fund. ``The market is really, really stumbling.''

Bear Stearns will lead the underwriting group, which includes First Security Van Kasper, CIBC World Markets and U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray as co-managers.

Optical Access has not set a price nor the number of shares it would offer. The company would trade under the ticker symbol OPXS on the Nasdaq exchange.

MRV shares, trading in the $75 range last month, closed Friday at $49.19, down 6 cents on heavy volume.

Company Vice President of Sales Allen Brandt said in a recent interview that one technology it is developing offers connection speeds up to one gigabyte per second within a kilometer of radio transmitters.

First Security Van Kasper analyst Chet White, who covers MRV Communications, said he could not comment on the proposed IPO during its quiet period. An MRV spokeswoman did not return calls seeking comment.

Last month, MRV set the terms for the IPO of its fiber-optic division Luminent. It plans to sell 12 million Luminent shares priced between $13 and $15 a share.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 7, 2000
Words:309
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