Alcatel-Lucent, a global communications giant with more than €18 billion revenue, will debut today following a sometimes rocky engagement.
The deal closed yesterday, eight months after it was announced and following national security concerns, investor lawsuits and one close shareholder vote. Today, it will begin trading on the Euronext Paris exchange and the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol ALU.
Both companies are - or rather were - among the largest suppliers of wired and wireless infrastructure, and the combined entity boasts 79,000 employees in 130 countries, about 23,000 of whom work in research and development, a services team of more than 18,000, and contracts with the 100 largest service providers in the world. The consolidation comes as carriers, the consumers of telecommunications gear, also combine into fewer and bigger entities.
The new company will be incorporated in France and based in Paris but run by Patricia Russo, the American outgoing chief of Lucent. Alcatel head Serge Tchuruk is a non-executive chairman of the board. Bell Labs, Lucent's venerable research unit, will remain in the US and a special business will be set up to handle sensitive US government contracts. Alcatel will sell its satellite business to ease national security concerns in France.
The deal came under fire from some investment firms and shareholders. In September, Lucent settled two proposed class-action lawsuits by investors that threatened to delay its shareholder vote, and the deal then passed with less than 52 percent of the vote.
The last key hurdle was approval by the Committee on Foreign Investment In the US (CFIUS), which earlier this month signed off on the deal on the condition that the companies execute national security agreements with certain US government agencies.
Alcatel-Lucent expects to make significant savings within three years by cutting about 9,000 jobs, consolidating support functions, optimising its supply and procurement system and using its research and services operations across a larger base.