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Last Updated: Friday, 24 March 2006, 17:38 GMT
Alcatel and Lucent discuss merger
Woman using broadband connection on her laptop
The two are seeking opportunities in each other's markets
Alcatel and Lucent Technologies, two leading equipment providers to the IT and telecoms industries, are discussing a potential merger.

The French and the US firms confirmed they were in talks but said there was no guarantee a deal would go ahead.

Between them, the two firms employ almost 90,000 staff and have revenues of more than $22bn (12.6bn).

Analysts said a deal may be worth $33bn and could trigger further consolidation in the IT and telecoms systems sector.

Previous talks

Analysts said a deal would offer Alcatel greater scope for US expansion, while offering Lucent more opportunities in Europe.

There can be no assurances that any agreement will be reached or that a transaction will be consummated
Joint Alcatel and Lucent statement

"We can confirm that Lucent and Alcatel are engaged in discussions about a potential merger of equals," the companies said in a statement.

But they added: "There can be no assurances that any agreement will be reached or that a transaction will be consummated."

Paris-based Alcatel is one of France's leading telecoms suppliers, servicing internet service providers and broadband providers.

It employs 58,000 staff in 130 countries and generated sales of 13.1bn euros ($15.6bn; 9bn) last year.

Lucent, which is headquartered in New Jersey, has more than 30,000 employees and sales of $9.4bn.

The firm, which used to be part of US telecoms giant AT&T, suffered severe financial problems after the tech bubble burst in 2001.

The two companies held tentative talks about a $23bn merger in 2001 but the discussions came to nothing.

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