Alcatel-Lucent mulls sale of enterprise unit

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 20, 2011 10:39 AM
Alcatel-Lucent mulls sale of enterprise unit

PARIS (Reuters) - Alcatel-Lucent confirmed on Wednesday that it may sell a collection of businesses that serve non-telecom operator customers as part of CEO Ben Verwaayen's ongoing turnaround plan.

The Franco-American telecom gear maker said it was reviewing "strategic options" including a possible sale for its enterprise business, adding that there was no certainty that the review would result on a deal.

Sources had previously told Reuters that sale talks for Alcatel-Lucent's enterprise business were underway, and that private equity fund Permira was the frontrunner with an offer at $1.3 billion.

The collection of businesses up for sale had revenues of around 1 billion euros and operating margins around 6-7 percent, according to analysts.

The most profitable yet smallest one is Genesys, which sells software for the operation of call centers and video conferencing, while the rest include internet telephony and an ethernet switching business.

A sale of the enterprise business would further Verwaayen's turnaround plan by focusing on the group on its core telecom operator customers, as well as bring in a cash infusion.

"The closure of the transaction would enable Alcatel-Lucent to significantly strengthen its balance sheet, thus removing the risk of a capital increase," wrote CA Cheuvreux analyst Odon de Laporte in a research note.

(Reporting by Leila Abboud; Editing by Christian Plumb)