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Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent merge

Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent have announced their intention to combine to create an innovation leader in next generation technology and services for an IP connected world. The two companies have entered into a memorandum of understanding under which Nokia will make an offer for all of the equity securities issued by Alcatel-Lucent, through a public exchange offer in France and in the United States, on the basis of 0.55 of a new Nokia share for every Alcatel-Lucent share.

The all-share transaction values Alcatel-Lucent at €15.6 billion on a fully diluted basis, corresponding to a fully diluted premium of 34 per cent (equivalent to €4.48 per share), and a premium to shareholders of 28 per cent (equivalent to € 4.27 per share), on the unaffected weighted average share price of Alcatel-Lucent for the previous three months. This is based on Nokia’s unaffected closing share price of €7.77 on April 13, 2015.

Each company’s Board of Directors has approved the terms of the proposed transaction, which is expected to close in the first half of 2016. The proposed transaction is subject to approval by Nokia’s shareholders, completion of relevant works council consultations, receipt of regulatory approvals and other customary conditions.

The pair say the combined company will be uniquely positioned to create the foundation of seamless connectivity for people and things wherever they are. This foundation is essential for enabling the next wave of technological change, including the Internet of Things and transition to the cloud.

They say the combined company will have unparalleled innovation capabilities, with Alcatel-Lucent’s Bell Labs and Nokia’s FutureWorks, as well as Nokia Technologies, which will stay as a separate entity with a clear focus on licensing and the incubation of new technologies.

With more than 40 000 R&D employees and spend of €4.7 billion in R&D in 2014, the combined company will be in a position to accelerate development of future technologies including 5G, IP and software-defined networking, cloud, analytics as well as sensors and imaging.

Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia have highly complementary portfolios and geographies, with particular strength in the United States, China, Europe and Asia-Pacific. They will also bring together the best of fixed and mobile broadband, IP routing, core networks, cloud applications and services. This combination is expected to create access to an expanded addressable market with improved long term growth opportunities.

Consumers are looking to access data, voice and video across networks of all kinds. In this environment technology that used to operate independently now needs to work well together. That is not always the case today, but together Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent say they are uniquely suited to helping telecom operators, Internet players and large enterprises address this challenge.

The combined company will be called Nokia Corporation, with headquarters in Finland and a strong presence in France. Risto Siilasmaa is planned to serve as Chairman, and Rajeev Suri as Chief Executive Officer

The combined company’s Board of Directors is planned to have nine or ten members, including three members from Alcatel-Lucent, one of whom would serve as Vice Chairman

Rajeev Suri, President and Chief Executive Officer of Nokia, said: “Together, Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia intend to lead in next-generation network technology and services, with the scope to create seamless connectivity for people and things wherever they are.

Our innovation capability will be extraordinary, bringing together the R&D engine of Nokia with that of Alcatel-Lucent and its iconic Bell Labs. We will continue to combine this strength with the highly efficient, lean operations needed to compete on a global scale.

We have hugely complementary technologies and the comprehensive portfolio necessary to enable the internet of things and transition to the cloud. We will have a strong presence in every part of the world, including leading positions in the United States and China.

Together, we expect to have the scale to lead in every area in which we choose to compete, drive profitable growth, meet the needs of global customers, develop new technologies, build on our successful intellectual property licensing, and create value for our shareholders.

For all these reasons, I firmly believe that this is the right deal, with the right logic, at the right time.”

Michel Combes, Chief Executive Officer of Alcatel-Lucent, added: “A combination of Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent will offer a unique opportunity to create a European champion and global leader in ultra-broadband, IP networking and cloud applications. I am proud that the joined forces of Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent are ready to accelerate our strategic vision, giving us the financial strength and critical scale needed to achieve our transformation and invest in and develop the next generation of network technology.

This transaction comes at the right time to strengthen the European technology industry. We believe our customers will benefit from our improved innovation capability and incomparable R&D engine under the Bell Labs brand. The global scale and footprint of the new company will reinforce its presence in the United States and China.

The proposed transaction represents a compelling offer for our shareholders both in terms of upfront premium and long term value creation potential. Shareholders of Alcatel-Lucent now have the opportunity to participate in the future upside of the industrial project that they have supported during the last two years, through a stronger combined business with greater global scale and a better position for the longer term. The new company will also provide our employees exciting opportunities to be part of a global leader.”

The proposed transaction is expected to offer financial benefits to both Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent shareholders. The combined company will be positioned to target a larger addressable market with an improved growth profile. Based on Nokia estimates, the addressable market of the combined company in 2014 was approximately 50 per cent larger than the current addressable networks market for Nokia alone, increasing from approximately €84 billion to approximately €130 billion. The combined company is expected to have a stronger growth profile than Nokia’s current addressable market, with an estimated CAGR of approximately 3.5 per cent for 2014-2019.

The combined company would target approximately €900 million of operating cost synergies to be achieved on a full year basis in 2019, assuming closing of the transaction in the first half of 2016. The operating cost synergies are expected to create a long-term structural cost advantage, coming from a wide-range of areas, including:

  • Organisational streamlining, rationalisation of overlapping products and services, central functions, and regional and sales organisations

  • Reduction of various overhead costs in real estate, manufacturing and supply-chain, information technology, and overall general and administrative expenses, including redundant public company costs

  • Procurement given expanded purchasing requirements of the combined company

The combined company would also target approximately €200 million of reductions in interest expenses to be achieved on a full year basis in 2017. The transaction is expected to be accretive to Nokia earnings on a non-IFRS basis (excluding restructuring charges and amortisation of intangibles) in 2017. These targets both assume closing of the transaction in the first half of 2016.

The combined company is expected to have a strong balance sheet, with combined net cash at December 31, 2014 of €7.4 billion, assuming conversion of all Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent convertible bonds.

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