Alcatel buys Lucent Technologies for $13.4 billion

MUMBAI: Global telecom players Alcatel and Lucent Technologies have announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement.
The combined company, which will be named at a later date, will have an aggregate market capitalization of approximately Euro 30 billion (USD 36 billion), based upon the closing prices on Friday, March 31. Based on calendar 2005 sales, the combined company will have revenues of approximately Euro 21 billion (USD 25 billion), divided almost evenly among North America, Europe and the rest of the world. As of December 31, 2005, the combined companies had about 88,000 employees.

Under the terms of the agreement, Lucent shareowners will receive 0.1952 of an ADS (American Depositary Share) representing ordinary shares of Alcatel (as the combined company) for every common share of Lucent that they currently hold. Upon completion of the merger, Alcatel shareholders will own approximately 60 per cent of the combined company and Lucent shareholders will own approximately 40 per cent of the combined company.

The combined company's ordinary shares will continue to be traded on the Euronext Paris and the ADSs representing ordinary shares will continue to be traded on the New York Stock Exchange.
This Management Committee of the combined company will be headed by Patricia Russo, CEO, will also consist of Mike Quigley, COO; Frank D'Amelio, Senior EVP, who will oversee the integration and the operations ; Jean-Pascal Beaufret, CFO; Etienne Fouques, EVP, who will supervise the emerging countries strategy; and Claire Pedini, Senior VP, Human Resources. Additional organization and management team announcements will be made at a future date.

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, while yielding significant synergies, Alcatel said in an official release.

The transaction, which was approved by the boards of directors of both companies, will build upon the complementary strengths of each company to create a global leader in the transformation of next-generation wireless, wireline and converged networks, the release adds.

"This combination is about a strategic fit between two experienced and well-respected global communications leaders who together will become the global leader in convergence," said chairman and CEO of Alcatel Serge Tchuruk, who will become non-executive chairman of the combined company. "A combined Alcatel and Lucent will be global in scale, have clear leadership in the areas that will define next-generation networks, boast one of the largest research and development capabilities focused on communications, and employ the largest and most experienced global services team in the industry. It will create enhanced value for shareholders of both companies who will benefit from owning the most dynamic, global player in the communications industry."

Lucent chairman and CEO Patricia Russo, who will become CEO of the combined company said, "The strategic logic driving this transaction is compelling. The communications industry is at the beginning of a significant transformation of network technologies, applications and services -- one that is projected to enable converged services across service-provider networks, enterprise networks and an array of personal devices. This presents extraordinary opportunities for our combined company to accelerate its growth. The combination creates a new industry competitor with the most comprehensive portfolio that will be poised to deliver significant benefits to customers, shareowners and employees."

The cost synergies are expected to be achieved within three years of closing and will come from several areas, including consolidating support functions, optimizing the supply chain and procurement structure, leveraging R&D and services across a larger base, and reducing the combined worldwide workforce by approximately 10 percent.

The merger also will result in approximately Euro 1.4 billion (USD 1.7 billion) in new cash restructuring charges, with the charges to be recorded primarily in the first year. A substantial majority of the restructuring is expected to be completed within 24 months after closing. The transaction is expected to be accretive to earnings per share in the first year post closing with synergies, excluding restructuring charges and amortization of intangible assets, states an official release.

Between signing and closing, Serge Tchuruk and Patricia Russo will supervise an integration team to be nominated shortly, which will seek to ensure that synergies will start to be realized as soon as closing takes place.

The combined company created by this merger of equals is incorporated in France, with executive offices located in Paris. The North American operations will be based in New Jersey, U.S.A., where global Bell Labs will remain headquartered. The board of directors of the combined company will be composed of 14 members and will have equal representation from each company, including Tchuruk and Russo, five of Alcatel's current directors and five of Lucent's current directors. The board will also include two new independent European directors to be mutually agreed upon.

The combined company intends to form a separate, independent U.S. subsidiary holding certain contracts with U.S. government agencies. This subsidiary would be separately managed by a board, to be composed of three independent U.S. citizens acceptable to the U.S. government. This type of structure is routinely used to protect certain government programs in the course of mergers involving a non-U.S. party, the release adds.

The combined company will remain the industrial partner of Thales and a key shareholder alongside the French state. Directors to the Thales board who are nominated by the combined company would be European Union citizens. Serge Tchuruk, or a French director or a French corporate executive of the combined company would be the principal liaison with Thales. Furthermore, the board of Alcatel has approved the continuation of negotiations with Thales with a view to reinforce the partnership through the contribution of certain assets and an increased shareholding position in Thales.

The merger is subject to customary regulatory and governmental reviews in the United States, Europe and elsewhere, as well as the approval by shareholders of both companies and other customary conditions. The transaction is expected to be completed in six to twelve months. Until the merger is completed, both companies will continue to operate their businesses independently.

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