PARIS Dec 20 The French government is trying to
arrange a deal in which France Telecom would acquire
part of Alcatel-Lucent's submarine cable unit, seen as
a 'strategic' asset, French business daily Les Echos reported on
Alcatel-Lucent would sell its ships which lay undersea cable
to France Telecom, which already owns a fleet of cabling ships,
under the transaction to be discussed in a meeting on Thursday
at the French Finance Ministry, the paper said.
France Telecom and Alcatel-Lucent officials could not
immediately be reached for comment. The French government and
its sovereign wealth fund own about 26 percent of the telecoms
Such a deal would be worth only 100 million euros to 150
million euros ($133 million to $199 million), a drop in the
bucket in terms of the financial needs of Alcatel-Lucent, which
has been burning cash at the rate of 700 million euros a year.
At the same time, in another bid to give a boost to
Alcatel-Lucent, the government is mulling a deal in which French
sovereign wealth fund FSI would buy a stake in Alcatel-Lucent's
cablemaking unit. No figure was provided for the deal.
Socialist French President Francois Hollande's government
has expressed concern about Alcatel-Lucent's plan to use patents
as collateral for a 1.6 billion euro loan because the
intellectual property could fall into the hands of foreign
banks, according to a Les Echos report earlier this week.
($1 = 0.7542 euros)
(Reporting By Christian Plumb and Blandine Henault)