Bush approves Alcatel, Lucent merger

US President Bush has approved the proposed $11.8 billion takeover of Lucent Technologies by French-owned Alcatel, saying the merger of the two telecommunications equipment companies does not present any major national security concerns, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report quoted White House press secretary Tony Snow, traveling with Bush in Hanoi, Vietnam, as saying that the US leader agreed with the recommendation of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US, or CFIUS, to allow the deal to go through, removing the last major regulatory hurdle to the combination of the two companies.

The merged company will become one of the world's largest telecommunications equipment suppliers, generating about $25 billion in sales and accounting for about an 18% share of the market.

The combined company will trim about 9,000 jobs, saving $1.8 billion over three years.

The Associated Press report further quoted Snow as saying that Alcatel and Lucent agreed with US government agencies to enter into 'robust and far-reaching agreements designed to ensure the protection of our national security.'

The merger required the approval of the foreign investment council due to Lucent's work on sensitive government contracts, the report further said.