Tellabs (TLAB) shares slipped Tuesday on a third-quarter financial shortfall.

Excluding tax benefits, the Naperville, Ill., telecom gearmaker posted adjusted earnings of 9 cents a share on sales of $284 million. That compares to a profit of 13 cents on sales of $304 million in the prior quarter and sales of $244 million in the year-ago period. Analysts had expected earnings of 12 cents on $301 million in sales.

On a GAAP basis, Tellabs' income was $46 million, or 11 cents a share, in the third quarter ended Oct. 1, compared with a loss of $65 million, or 16 cents a share, in the third quarter of 2003.

The company's shares were down 23 cents, or nearly 3%, to $8.56 in premarket activity Tuesday.

"Wireless customers drove double-digit revenue growth in Tellabs' third quarter," CEO Krish Prabhu, in an earnings release.

Tellabs says it expects to close its acquisition of AFC this quarter. The company agreed this summer to acquire AFC, but later reduced the amount it will pay, owing in part to a slowdown in AFC's business.

The slowdown appeared to continue Monday, as

Advanced Fibre


posted a modest sequential profit rise but fell short of sales goals.

Both companies have scheduled a stockholder meeting for Nov. 30 to approve the transaction. Tellabs anticipated the closing will occur soon after the meeting, assuming stockholder approval and other closing conditions have been satisfied.