A UK analyst has accused Marconi of selling its Optical Components business for less than a fifth of its potential value.
Marconi announced the division's £19.7m all-stock disposal to Bookham Technology on Monday (17 December). But analysts at Altium Capital immediately said that they had expected a price tag of between £50m and £100m. They also expressed disappointment that Marconi was not bringing in any cash to reduce its debt.
In their most damning comment, the Altium analysts said Marconi was "perfecting the art of shareholder destruction". Altium has issued a 'Sell' recommendation on the company.
The City in general did not seem overly impressed by the deal. Marconi's share price slipped by 3.5% to 41p following the announcement.
The sale of Caswell-based Optical Components is part of Marconi's drive to reduce drains on its capital by selling non-core businesses.
Marconi now picks up a stake in Bookham worth just under 10% of the optical specialist. Mike Parton, Marconi's CEO, sought to answer the claim that a cash deal would have been more appropriate.
" Marconi sees very real value in holding a substantial shareholding in a business that will become a leading provider of integrated photonic solutions worldwide, whilst eliminating Marconi's ongoing investment requirements."
Under the deal, Marconi has also agreed to purchase at least £30m worth of components from Bookham over the next 18 months.
Giorgio Anania, president and CEO of Bookham, said that Optical Components was a good fit with his company's other operations: "Bookham gets access to a range of innovative component products that complement our existing range."