Nokia gains control of Alcatel-Lucent

Nokia said it has gained control of Alcatel-Lucent following a successful public exchange offer that will see the Finnish telecoms equipment manufacturer hold almost 80 per cent of its former rival.

The conclusion of the offer for Alcatel-Lucent securities in France and the U.S. marks the final stage in the long-running process to merge the two vendors. The offer, which valued Alcatel-Lucent at €15.6 billion ($17 billion), was judged a success based on interim results published by the French stock market authority (AMF), with final confirmation from the AMF expected on Jan. 5.

Nokia said once the final results had been announced, the two companies would "begin to progress their integration plans, with the first day as an operationally combined group on Jan. 14, 2016."

Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri welcomed the completion of the offer, noting that it indicated the confidence of Alcatel-Lucent investors in the future of the combined company.

"We will move quickly to combine the two companies and execute our integration plans. As of Jan. 14, 2016, Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent will offer a combined end-to-end portfolio of the scope and scale to meet the needs of our global customers," Suri said.

Nokia will also reopen the offer within 10 days after completion for any shares or convertible bonds that have so far not been tendered. Should the Finnish company reach 95 per cent ownership of Alcatel-Lucent, it intends to "squeeze out" the remaining shares and convertible bonds.

Once the transaction has been completed, Nokia said it also plans to carry out a €7 billion programme "to optimise its capital structure and return excess capital to Nokia shareholders."

Nokia announced its plan last April to buy Alcatel-Lucent in order to create a new European powerhouse in the telecoms equipment market. The move places both companies in a stronger position to compete with market leader Ericsson and Chinese rivals Huawei and ZTE.

Since the deal was announced, Ericsson has also unveiled plans to form a business and technology partnership with Cisco, saying that such an arrangement was "faster and more efficient" than a big merger.

For more:
- see this Nokia announcement

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