LEA: LEAding Broadband Wireline Solutions
(LEAder du haut debit filaire)
Newbury partner Ossama Hassanein had become familiar with the work of LEA's co-founder while he was developing the technology while doing research at the Ecole Polytechnique of Lausanne. Following his help in founding the Company within an incubator in France in 1999, LEA's mission has been to create the products and solutions required for fast Broadband distribution over existing wireline networks. The principal behind this approach was simple: to capitalize on existing infrastructure to avoid expensive re-cabling.
In its first year of operation, LEA was able to complete the design and introduction of its first suite of products. Efforts paid off, and volume shipments began in late 2000 to key DSLAM manufacturers and CPE ADSL modem vendors. When a significant product backlog quickly became a reality, Newbury led an $8.6 million financing round that enabled the Company to build its infrastructure for rapid growth.
Ossama and the Newbury partnership worked closely with LEA's CEO and management team as Board members and as behind the scenes advisors' and facilitators. As a high growth technology company in France, there were many key challenges that we faced together, including leading a financing round with a diverse group of foreign investors, lobbying key customers to re-issue purchase orders, contacting a variety of investment bankers to "sell" them the idea of taking on an M&A assignment for LEA, and facilitating an acquisition transaction to closure despite technical complexities.
Six years after founding, LEA had become the world's leading manufacturer of ADSL filters/splitters with 25 million equipped lines. The Company's revenues grew by a factor of 14, productivity had reached astonishing levels, and profitability was dependable and robust, with market share having grown from single digits to a commanding 90 percent in France, 60 percent in Europe and 25 percent worldwide. Cash balances had also grown significantly.
In May 2005, the culmination of long efforts by Ossama and management resulted in LEA announcing an agreement to be acquired by HF Company, a publicly traded French company that specializes in the design and sale of equipment for the reception and transmission of high frequency signals. Together, these companies should be leaders in all areas of home networking technology and will hold unrivalled positions in each of their business areas.