JDS Uniphase

(JDSU)

dropped nearly 20% in after-hours trading as Wall Street speculated about a "special conference call" the company has scheduled for 8 a.m. EDT Tuesday.

Among the possible reasons for the call, say some analysts and investors, is an announcement that the optical component maker will buy

Lucent's

(LU)

fiber-optic cable manufacturing plant. Lucent declined to comment, and JDS didn't return a call seeking comment.

Lucent shares ended normal trading down 3% Monday, but in aftermarket trading the stock was up almost 2% to $9.68.

Lucent, which is scheduled to report second-quarter earnings before the market opens tomorrow, has been seeking bidders for its fiber-making operation. JDS, along with

Corning

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GE

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, is reported to be interested. The estimated value of the business is somewhere in the range of $4 billion to $6 billion.

The cash would help Lucent pay off a portion of its debt and help improve the company's credit rating, which has been put on watch by

Standard & Poor's

.

To be sure, the JDS Uniphase announcement could involve an internal matter regarding management or earnings (JDS is set to report earnings after the market closes Thursday), for instance. Some analysts expect a shake-up of the management ranks, reasoning that when JDS acquired fellow component maker SDL earlier this year, it gained a rather top-heavy organization. Notably, SDL President and CEO Don Scifres took the president spot of one business group while Jay Abbe, former president and COO of JDS Uniphase, became president and COO of three business groups.

"The sand box isn't big enough for all these boys, so somebody has to leave," says an analyst who asked not to be named. But another analyst says the timing suggests a Lucent fiber deal. Tomorrow we'll find out.