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Alcatel board to meet Thursday on Lucent deal

Written by: Staff
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PARIS, March 27 (Reuters) The board of French telecom equipment maker Alcatel will meet on Thursday to discuss a possible merger with smaller U.S. rival Lucent Technologies, an Alcatel spokeswoman said on Monday.

''There is a board meeting to provide information about the issue on Thursday but there won't necessarily be any conclusions,'' the Alcatel spokeswoman said.

Alcatel shares eased in early trade on Monday, having risen on Friday on news of the proposal to create the world's biggest telecoms equipment company with combined sales of 21 billion euros (.29 billion).

By 0744 GMT, Alcatel shares had fallen almost 2 percent to 12.78 euros, making them the biggest percentage loser in Paris' CAC-40 index of leading companies.

The companies said on Thursday they had started discussing a ''merger of equals''that was intended to be priced at market.

The new group would be incorporated and headquartered in France, sources close to the matter said, and Alcatel intends to keep its stake of almost 10 percent in European defence electronics group Thales, amid speculation it could sell the stake to facilitate a planned merger.

REUTERS SR KN1421

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