Nokia shareholders are final hurdle to Alcatel-Lucent merger

Nokia faces one final barrier to its planned merger with Alcatel-Lucent: its own shareholders.

The Finland-headquartered vendor issued a fresh appeal for shareholders to approve the proposed €15.6 billion ($17.3 billion) deal with Alcatel-Lucent as it convened an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) for Dec. 2. Nokia called the meeting the day after clearing the last regulatory hurdle to the merger, as the French government became the latest to green-light the deal.

Nokia's board of directors called for shareholders to approve the issue of shares necessary to implement the combination of the two companies, amend the Articles of Association of the company, and approve changes to the make up of the board.

The thumbs up from the French Ministry of Economy was the final regulatory approval needed to take the deal to shareholders, Nokia said in a separate statement. The companies had previously received clearance from regulatory authorities at the European Commission, the U.S., and China.

Rajeev Suri, Nokia president and CEO, said the approval by the French government was an important step towards combining the company with Alcatel-Lucent.

"I would like to thank French Minister of the Economy Emmanuel Macron and his team for the constructive engagement we have enjoyed throughout this process. We now look forward to providing our shareholders with the opportunity to approve the proposed transaction, and to giving Alcatel-Lucent shareholders and convertible bondholders the chance to exchange their securities for shares in Nokia," Suri commented.

That "constructive engagement" saw Nokia commit to continue using Alcatel-Lucent's French R&D facilities following the merger, which Suri agreed to in talks with Macron in September. The French sites will be utilised in the research of technologies including 5G and small cells.

In early October, Nokia announced that the merged entity would comprise four business groups: mobile networks; fixed networks; applications and analytics; and IP/optical networks. Those four divisions will form the new Nokia Networks business, while the company's current Nokia Technologies unit will continue to operate as a separate entity.

For more:
- see Nokia's EGM statement
- view the French approval announcement

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