France-based telecommunications equipment maker Alcatel will acquire Astral Point Communications for 9 million class A shares worth about $135 million (153 euros), the companies announced Tuesday. Privately held Astral makes optical telecommunications equipment for metropolitan networks, or networks that run in urban areas as opposed to long-haul networks, which send voice and data between cities.
Chelmsford, Mass.-based Astral started in 1998 and makes gear that runs on SONET (synchronous optical network) standards, a protocol used by many telecommunications carriers in North America. Astral employed 175 people at the end of 2001, 101 of which were involved in research and development. Astral raised a total of $115 million from venture capital firms and posted revenue of $4.5 million in 2001. The companies expect the deal to close by the end of the first quarter of 2002.