Troubled networking hardware giant Lucent has sold its corporate venture capital division, Lucent New Ventures Group, to a UK-based private equity house called Coller Capital.
Under the terms of the agreement, Coller Capital will acquire an 80% stake in Lucent New Ventures, which has funded a total of 27 high-tech companies spun out of Lucent’s research and development division, Bell Labs. Lucent will retain ownership of its other venture capital group, Lucent Venture Capital, which invests in external companies.
Jeremy Coller, CEO of Coller Capital, said the depth and quality of the Lucent New Ventures’ portfolio was the best he had seen. It includes a range of software, storage and a number of start-ups which have since been floated on the Nasdaq stock exchange. These include data management and network services company Intrado.
Although the value of the transaction is reported to be less than $100 million (€111.5m), Coller Capital has committed itself to continue financing the companies in the portfolio. Investment in technology start-ups has become a low priority for cash-strapped Lucent, which began a major restructuring operation in 2001.