Alcatel-Lucent in talks to sell cybersecurity unit to Thales

PARIS Thu May 22, 2014 1:00pm EDT

PARIS May 22 (Reuters) - Telecom equipment maker Alcatel-Lucent said it was in exclusive talks to sell its network security unit to defence electronics group Thales as part of a broader partnership in cybersecurity.

If the deal is finalised, roughly 70 Alcatel-Lucent workers now located near Paris, Toulouse and Nantes would be transferred to Thales, said a spokeswoman for Alcatel. Thales would commit to providing cybersecurity services to Alcatel-Lucent clients.

The companies did not disclose financial details of the potential transaction on Thursday, nor did they say how long the talks would take.

Alcatel-Lucent Chief Executive Michel Combes has promised to sell 1 billion euros ($1.37 billion) of assets as part of his effort to turn around the telecom equipment maker by the end of 2015.

Two small businesses have already been sold for 350 million euros, including an enterprise unit that sells communications products and services to corporations, and research-and-development partnerships have been signed with chipmakers Qualcomm and Intel.

Paris-based Alcatel-Lucent, which competes with Sweden's Ericsson, China's Huawei and Finland's Nokia , has not posted regular profits since it was created in a transatlantic merger in 2006, hampered by its relatively small size in mobile and by tough competition with low-cost rivals. ($1 = 0.7323 Euros) (Reporting by Leila Abboud; Editing by James Regan)

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