Alcatel to acquire Lucent in $13.4 billion deal |

Alcatel to acquire Lucent in $13.4 billion deal

PARIS – Alcatel SA and Lucent Technologies Inc. said Sunday that the French telecom equipment maker would acquire its U.S. rival in a $13.4 billion (11.1 billion euros) stock swap that would form a major new global player. About 8,800 jobs will be cut.The combined company, to be based in Paris, will have annual sales of 21 billion euros ($25 billion) – close to the 2005 revenue posted by the world’s largest network provider, Cisco Systems Inc. The new company expects to generate 1.4 billion euros ($1.7 billion) of savings within three years, the companies said.The companies said the cost savings would come from several areas, including consolidating support functions, leveraging research and development and services across a larger base and cutting about 10 percent of their combined worldwide work force. As of Dec. 31 the companies had about 88,000 total employees.Alcatel and Lucent said the deal would allow them to better combat the intense competition in the telecom equipment market.”The primary driver of the combination is to generate significant growth in revenues and earnings based on the market opportunities for next-generation networks, services and applications,” the companies said.Analysts have said a tie-up between the two would be a good fit, and that the combined company would be better able to resist pricing pressures from the larger telecom service providers emerging from a new wave of consolidation in the sector.The combined company, whose name is to be decided at a later date, will be led by Patricia Russo, the current chief executive of Lucent, the companies said in a joint statement. Alcatel Chairman and CEO Serge Tchuruk will become non-executive chairman.The 14-member board of directors will include Russo, Tchuruk, five of the current directors from each company and two new independent European directors to be mutually agreed upon, the companies said.Though companies called the deal a “merger of equals,” under the terms of the transaction Alcatel shareholders will hold about 60 percent of the new company and Lucent shareholders about 40 percent, the companies said. Lucent shareholders will receive 0.1952 of an Alcatel American Depositary Share for each common share they own.Paris-based Alcatel has more revenues and employees, but Lucent, based in Murray Hill, New Jersey, is slightly more profitable. The companies did not give details on where the job cuts would be, but Russo pledged to “take a fair and balanced approach as we manage our way through this.”The companies appeared to have resolved a standoff over Alcatel’s satellite activities, which Alcatel had planned to transfer to Thales SA in return for increasing its stake in the French defense electronics company to about 25 percent from the current 10 percent.The Thales deal, designed to answer French government concerns over sensitive military technologies, hit a snag when European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. intervened – with the reported backing of French President Jacques Chirac – to demand that its own Astrium satellite unit be included in the operation.But the satellite deal between Alcatel and Thales is now poised to go ahead without EADS, a person familiar with the talks said. Thales issued a statement to say it had called a board meeting Tuesday to examine “a project aimed at developing Thales and strengthening the existing partnership between Thales and Alcatel.” The person asked not be identified because the negotiations are confidential.In a move apparently aimed at addressing any U.S. security concerns about Bell Labs – Lucent’s research arm, which does sensitive work for the Pentagon – the companies said they planned to form a separate, independent American subsidiary holding contracts with U.S. government agencies.The unit would be separately managed by a board of three U.S. citizens acceptable to the U.S. government, the companies said.Alcatel and Lucent had said March 23 that they were negotiating a merger. The deal has been approved by the boards of each company and requires regulatory and governmental reviews in the United States, Europe and elsewhere, as well as the approval of shareholders in both companies.Lucent and Alcatel said they expected the deal to be complete in six to twelve months.Vail, Colorado

Support Local Journalism