Alcatel in talks with bidders for enterprise business-Bloomberg

PARIS Mon Jan 13, 2014 1:41am EST

PARIS Jan 13 (Reuters) - Franco-American telecoms company Alcatel-Lucent is in talks with three potential buyers for its business selling telecoms equipment and services to corporations and a decision on the sale is expected by March, said a Bloomberg report.

Alcatel-Lucent Chief Executive Michel Combes, who is leading a turnaround and debt-reduction plan at the group that includes 1 billion euros ($1.37 billion) in divestments, has brought in Lazard to help with the sale, sources told Reuters in November.

Bloomberg reported that Unify, a Gores Group LLC and Siemens AG venture, was among the interested parties, alongside "an industrial company from outside the U.S. and a Chinese investor". The potential buyers are preparing second round bids.

Alcatel declined to comment on Monday.

The loss-making company has tried to sell its activities aimed at corporate clients before. In 2011, it explored the sale of the enterprise business but found no takers. It sold the still-growing part of the division - call centre software unit Genesys - to private equity firm Permira for $1.5 billion.

Alcatel does not disclose revenue from its enterprise activity. It said sales to corporate clients and the government brought in 959 million euros last year. Analysts say the enterprise business is most probably losing money.

Bloomberg reported that sales from the enterprise unit were 764 million in 2012 with an operating loss of 12 million euros, citing an unnamed source.

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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