Alcatel, Lucent inch closer to merger

Alcatel, Lucent inch closer to merger


Telecommunications equipment maker Alcatel SA is reportedly in negotiations to acquire beleaguered Lucent Technologies for about $US40 billion, according to reports surfacing in the US.

The board meetings were held to brief directors on the status of the talks and to discuss details of a potential merger. No board action was required, but the meetings are considered significant as it shows that the discussions are advancing, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday, citing sources familiar with the talks.

A merger could bring about massive annual savings of about $4 billion thanks to synergies when the companies' businesses are combined, the report said.

A spokesman for Lucent in London declined to comment, saying Lucent considers the report to be based on "rumours and speculation in the marketplace."

France's Alcatel proposed acquiring US-based Lucent in a stock swap deal and the two sides have been discussing the deal for weeks. However, the chances of a merger actually happening are only slightly better than 50 per cent, The Wall Street Journal said.

Alcatel has only been willing to confirm that it has put in a formal bid for Lucent's fibre-optic business, and was not immediately available for comment.

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