Corvis Corp. said yesterday it will change its name to Broadwing Corp., a move that reflects the Columbia company's reinvention from a maker of fiber-optic equipment to a provider of telecom services.
Corvis was founded in 1998 to sell laser technology and held an initial public offering in July 2000 that raised more than $1 billion. The company hit a wall soon after when the bottom fell out of the telecom market and carriers stopping spending money on equipment.
In June 2003, Corvis acquired Austin-based Broadwing for $91 million. At the time, Broadwing was its largest customer and Corvis said it intended to sell off the long-distance telecom service operations. But the company's executives changed their minds soon after and decided to adopt Broadwing as the core business.
Earlier this month the company expanded that business when it completed the acquisition of Focal Communications of Chicago, a local phone service provider, for $189 million in debt and equity.
Today, only 120 of the company's 1,600 employees are located in Columbia, which will remain its corporate headquarters after the name change takes effect next week. David R. Huber, Corvis's founder, will become chairman and chief executive of Broadwing. The company's current chief executive, Mark Spagnolo, will leave after a six-month transition.
"Our business has become selling communication services and the Broadwing name is respected in the industry for services," said Andrew G. Backman, the company's spokesman.
The company also said it plans to conduct a reverse stock split Oct. 8, reducing the number of outstanding shares by a factor of 10. The firm will change its ticker symbol to BWNG. Shares of its stock closed yesterday at 99 cents, down 1 cent, before the announcement.