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CORNING BUYING PIRELLI UNIT

Corning Inc. is buying Pirelli SpA's optical components business for about $3.6 billion, extending its goal of becoming a one-stop shop in the optical network industry that anchors the telecommunications revolution.

The deal announced Wednesday was Corning's biggest so far in an 18-month buying spree totaling more than $10 billion to build up the optical equipment side of its fiber optics business. It is already the world's largest supplier of optical fiber and cable.

Pirelli, Italy's biggest tire and cable maker, agreed to sell its 90 percent stake in Optical Technologies, its fiber optic telecommunications division. It plans to churn the proceeds back into its tire, telecommunications and energy transmission businesses.

Under the agreement, Corning will pay about $3.4 billion in cash and may hand over an extra $180 million depending on whether certain business milestones are reached. The remaining 10 percent of Optical Technologies is owned by network equipment maker Cisco Systems Inc.

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