Lucent Technologies

(LU)

plans to put its optical fiber solutions unit up for sale, possibly in as soon as two weeks, according to a published report.

The

Wall Street Journal

said Wednesday the possible sale of Lucent's optical fiber unit could fetch as much as $8 billion. The paper reported that it remains unclear which companies could bid for the unit, and speculated that suitors could include rivals like

Corning

(GLW) - Get Report

and

Alcatel

(ALA)

, the French equipment maker.

The Murray Hill, N.J.-based telecom equipment and software supplier has been facing a glut of troubles lately, including worsening

financial problems, weak earnings and an investigation into its financial practices. The company restated its revenue for its first quarter ending Dec. 31, 2000.

Its optical fiber unit is reportedly the second-largest producer of fiber-optic cable after Corning with fiscal 2000 revenue of about $2 billion. The division reported sales growth of 60% in fiscal 2000 and was the only unit in Lucent's core service provider business to report sales growth during the company's fiscal first quarter, the

Journal

said.

Representatives from Lucent could not be reached for comment.

Separately, the

New York Times

reported that Lucent is investigating the activities of a former high-ranking executive, James Baughman, who was director of recruiting at Lucent when he died last September at the age of 47.

Baughman was convicted of embezzlement when he was a high school principal and of forging information when he applied to become a schools superintendent before his employment at Lucent, according to the report.

Baughman, who was responsible for hiring thousands of employees at Lucent, reportedly admitted in 1992 to lying about having received a doctorate from Stanford University. Lucent has spoken to Baughman's mother about his travel and spending habits, the paper said.

Shares of Lucent closed at $12.34 in Wednesday trading on the

New York Stock Exchange

, scraping close to its 52-week low of $12.19. The shares have a 52-week high of $75.38.