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Lucent, Alcatel Agree On $36 Billion Merger

LONDON — Lucent Technologies and Alcatel have finalized their proposed ‘merger of equals’ over the weekend to create a telecommunications equipment group that will have sales of just over $25 billion.

The French group will control 60 percent of the shares in the combined operation, and after tough talks it was agreed a separate, independent entity would be established to oversee sensitive contracts with the U.S. government.

The companies revealed ten days ago they were in merger talks, and the biggest obstacle to the merger was believed to be how to address political and security concerns regarding the work done by Lucent’s Bell Labs subsidiary for the U.S government, particularly for the Pentagon.

The deal was also complicated by Alcatel’s plans to increase its 9.5 percent stake in French aerospace and defence group Thales. The announcement on Sunday (April 2) said the combined group would “remain the industrial partner of Thales and a key shareholder alongside the French state,” and that talks would continue over the possibility of Alcatel increasing its stake in Thales. The French government currently has a 30 percent stake in Thales.

With market capitalization of Euros 30 billion ($36 billion), second only to Cisco in the communications equipment business, Alcatel/Lucent would rank in one of the top two positions in almost all of its markets, with a global lead in the convergence of fixed and mobile technology.

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