Alcatel and Lucent discuss synergy

Network equipment manufacturers Alcatel and Lucent Technologies are inching closer to a marriage as the boards of both companies...

Network equipment manufacturers Alcatel and Lucent Technologies are inching closer to a marriage as the boards of both companies have approved additional discussions that could lead to a $34bn (£23.9m) merger, according to a report published yesterday.

The board meetings aimed 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 they show the discussions are advancing, The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday.

A merger could bring about massive annual savings of about $4bn, thanks to synergies within the companies' businesses, the report said.

A spokesman for Lucent in London declined to comment, saying the company considers the report to be based only 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 proposal for several weeks. However, the chances of a merger actually happening are only slightly better than 50%, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Alcatel has only been willing to confirm that it has put in a formal bid for Lucent's fibre-optic business.

Officials at Alcatel were not available for comment.

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