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Make Sure JDSU's Promise Has Right Fit

This column was originally published on RealMoney on Nov. 28 at 12:11 p.m. EST. It's being republished as a bonus for readers.

If I told you that I had the best single anticounterfeit play to stop the rampant pirating in China, you'd buy it in a heartbeat. If I told you that I knew a laser company that wasn't at its 52-week high, even though it is a precision, non-industrial laser company with great growth potential, you'd leap at it. If I told you I had a pigment company working on photovoltaic properties that allow you to have everything from a soccer ball that glows in the dark to a tamper-proof $20 bill, you would say, "Let me take that sucker right now."

But what if I told you the play was buried within a company and that it was, at best, 25% of the company's prospects? What if I told you the rest of the company was a parts supplier to Lucent (LU), Cisco (CSCO), Nortel (NT), Verizon (VZ) and BellSouth (BLS)? What would you do with a company that could get squeezed by Cisco in order for Cisco to make enough money selling equipment to SBC (SBC)? And how would you react if I told you that this company has its hands full with competition from Agilent (A), the great test and measurement player?

You'd probably say, "Get me to stock loan; can I borrow some shares to sell it short?"

That's how I felt after meeting with some of the new management team from JDSU (JDSU). Actually, "new management team" is an understatement. This company is a vastly different enterprise from the hydra-headed, shotgun-wedded piece of junk that was JDSU under that guy with the beret.

This is a company that has spent the last two years in deep purgatory, under the radar, attempting to salvage itself, to reposition itself, to reduce cost and yet still have a business. Because of the cash hoard it has -- remember, JDSU financed itself at its high, so it is like a dot-com that socked away money and didn't bleed it -- it has been able to buy some companies and to sell and close a lot of others.

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