About 7 or 8 years ago, my colleagues and I created a spoof editorial calendar, comprised of topics such as CB Telephony: 10-4 Good Buddy, The Pros and Cons of Tin Can Telephony, and other such silly topics. One topic was a tongue-in-cheek jab at Lucent, called Why Lucent has No Suitors.
Well, it turns out Lucent did and now once again – does – have suitors after all.
Reports from Paris today indicate that Lucent and Alcatel are starting up talks that they last held in 2001 regarding the potential “merger of equals” between the two firms -- a merger that would result in a telecom gear maker with combined sales of over $25.3 billion. That would make the combined entity larger than Cisco.
With carriers chomping at the bit to deploy next-generation solutions such as IMS and IPTV, Lucent/Alcatel would enjoy tremendous leverage with their customers. Lucent just won a bidding war over Ericsson for Riverstone Networks, helping to complete their Triple Play offering.
Forbes reported earlier this week that Banc of America Securities analyst Tim Long upgraded the rating on shares of Alcatel to “buy” from “neutral,” and also raised the price target on Alcatel shares to $18 from $14. Long was forecasting 10% growth in 2006 and 9% growth in 2007 for Alcatel's wireline segment.
It will be interesting to see how this one plays out.