Alcatel and Lucent Technologies announced Sunday that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement to create the first truly global communications solutions provider with the broadest wireless, wireline and services portfolio in the industry. The primary driver of the combination is to generate significant growth in revenues and earnings based on the market opportunities for next-generation networks, services and applications, while yielding significant synergies. The combined company's increased scale, scope and global capabilities will enhance its long-term value for shareowners, customers and employees.
The transaction, which was approved by the boards of directors of both companies, will build upon the complementary strengths of each company to create a global leader in the transformation of next-generation wireless, wireline and converged networks.
Strategic Fit Creates Global Leader in Next-Generation Networks and Services
"This combination is about a strategic fit between two experienced and well-respected global communications leaders who together will become the global leader in convergence," said Serge Tchuruk, Chairman and CEO of Alcatel who will become non-executive chairman of the combined company. "A combined Alcatel and Lucent will be global in scale, have clear leadership in the areas that will define next-generation networks, boast one of the largest research and development capabilities focused on communications, and employ the largest and most experienced global services team in the industry. It will create enhanced value for shareholders of both companies who will benefit from owning the most dynamic, global player in the communications industry."
Patricia Russo, Chairman and CEO of Lucent who will become CEO of the combined company said, "The strategic logic driving this transaction is compelling. The communications industry is at the beginning of a significant transformation of network technologies, applications and services -- one that is projected to enable converged services across service-provider networks, enterprise networks and an array of personal devices. This presents extraordinary opportunities for our combined company to accelerate its growth. The combination creates a new industry competitor with the most comprehensive portfolio that will be poised to deliver significant benefits to customers, shareowners and employees."
Overview of Strategic Combination
The combined company, which will be named at a later date, will have an aggregate market capitalization of approximately Euro 30 billion (USD 36 billion), based upon the closing prices on Friday, March 31. Based on calendar 2005 sales, the combined company will have revenues of approximately Euro 21 billion (USD 25 billion), divided almost evenly among North America, Europe and the rest of the world. As of December 31, 2005, the combined companies had about 88,000 employees.
The combined company will have:
- A strong financial base and achieve annual pre-tax cost synergies of about Euro 1.4 billion (USD 1.7 billion) within three years, a substantial majority of which is expected to be achieved in the first two years
- The largest and most experienced global services and support organization in the industry
- A leading position in communications solutions, with the broadest wireless and wireline portfolio
- Deep and strong, long-term relationships with every major service provider around the world
- A growing momentum in high-end enterprise technologies and markets, including mission critical safety and security applications
- The industry's premier R&D capabilities, including Bell Labs, with 26,100 R&D engineers and scientists throughout the world
- An experienced international management team with a common vision and proven track record
- An enhanced global foot print and diversified customer base with a presence in more than 130 countries
The cost synergies are expected to be achieved within three years of closing and will come from several areas, including consolidating support functions, optimizing the supply chain and procurement structure, leveraging R&D and services across a larger base, and reducing the combined worldwide workforce by approximately 10 percent. The merger also will result in approximately Euro 1.4 billion (USD 1.7 billion) in new cash restructuring charges, with the charges to be recorded primarily in the first year. A substantial majority of the restructuring is expected to be completed within 24 months after closing. The transaction is expected to be accretive to earnings per share in the first year post closing with synergies, excluding restructuring charges and amortization of intangible assets.
A Globally Managed Company
The combined company will be managed by a team that reflects a balance between the two organizations, taking into account the best talents of each company and the multicultural nature of its workforce. Beginning immediately after closing, there will be a Management Committee that will work towards this end, while ensuring continuity in the management of the two companies. This Management Committee of the combined company will be headed by Patricia Russo, CEO, will also consist of Mike Quigley, COO; Frank D'Amelio, Senior EVP, who will oversee the integration and the operations ; Jean-Pascal Beaufret, CFO; Etienne Fouques, EVP, who will supervise the emerging countries strategy; and Claire Pedini, Senior VP, Human Resources. Additional organization and management team announcements will be made at a future date.
Between signing and closing, Serge Tchuruk and Patricia Russo will supervise an integration team to be nominated shortly, which will seek to ensure that synergies will start to be realized as soon as closing takes place.
Overview of the Transaction
Under the terms of the agreement, Lucent shareowners will receive 0.1952 of an ADS (American Depositary Share) representing ordinary shares of Alcatel (as the combined company) for every common share of Lucent that they currently hold. Upon completion of the merger, Alcatel shareholders will own approximately 60 percent of the combined company and Lucent shareholders will own approximately 40 percent of the combined company. The combined company's ordinary shares will continue to be traded on the Euronext Paris and the ADSs representing ordinary shares will continue to be traded on the New York Stock Exchange.
The combined company created by this merger of equals is incorporated in France, with executive offices located in Paris. The North American operations will be based in New Jersey, U.S.A., where global Bell Labs will remain headquartered. The board of directors of the combined company will be composed of 14 members and will have equal representation from each company, including Tchuruk and Russo, five of Alcatel's current directors and five of Lucent's current directors. The board will also include two new independent European directors to be mutually agreed upon.
The combined company intends to form a separate, independent U.S. subsidiary holding certain contracts with U.S. government agencies. This subsidiary would be separately managed by a board, to be composed of three independent U.S. citizens acceptable to the U.S. government. This type of structure is routinely used to protect certain government programs in the course of mergers involving a non-U.S. party.
The combined company will remain the industrial partner of Thales and a key shareholder alongside the French state. Directors to the Thales board who are nominated by the combined company would be European Union citizens. Serge Tchuruk, or a French director or a French corporate executive of the combined company would be the principal liaison with Thales. Furthermore, the board of Alcatel has approved the continuation of negotiations with Thales with a view to reinforce the partnership through the contribution of certain assets and an increased shareholding position in Thales.
The merger is subject to customary regulatory and governmental reviews in the United States, Europe and elsewhere, as well as the approval by shareholders of both companies and other customary conditions. The transaction is expected to be completed in six to twelve months. Until the merger is completed, both companies will continue to operate their businesses independently.
Commitments to customers and stakeholders
"Our customers will benefit from a partner with the scale and scope to design, build and manage increasingly converged networks that deliver the most advanced communications services to the market. That is what this combination will deliver with an unparalleled focus on execution, innovation and service for our customers," said Patricia Russo. "Serge and I will work hard with our leadership team to draw upon the key strengths and common culture of technical excellence within each company to uniquely position the combined company for success, growth and value creation from next-generation networking and services."
"We are committed to moving forward aggressively after closing and quickly combining our operations and integrating our corporate cultures to ensure that we capture the full benefits of this combination for our customers, our shareowners and our employees," Serge Tchuruk said. "We share a vision of where networks are going; a commitment to world-class customer service; and a highly skilled, motivated and global workforce. We are excited about the tremendous opportunity to establish the course for this future together."