Alcatel-Lucent is refusing to sell its undersea cables unit, which means that the former rubber boot maker Nokia will get its paws on the operation after completing its acquisition of the Franco-American group.
Nokia is spending $17 billion on Alcatel-Lucent as it wants to better compete with market leader Ericsson and low-cost Chinese powerhouse Huawei.
Alcatel had previously planned to sell a majority stake in Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks (ASN) or list the business separately. However it now opted to keep the unit instead.
The division, which has facilities in Calais, France and Greenwich, Britain, on the site where the world’s first transatlantic cable was manufactured in 1858, will become part of Nokia.
Ministers had thought of asking the French sovereign fund to take a stake in ASN, to ensure it keeps activities that are strategic to France’s surveillance apparatus on French soil.
But Alcatel-Lucent said France had surrendered on the idea of fighting against the submarine cable unit being bought by Nokia.
“We constantly exchange with the government, they are aware of our decision,” the spokesman said. “This will be part of discussions, but there was no objection,” a spokesman said. .
ASN has more than 575,000 kilometers of fiber-optic cable systems deployed worldwide, along with the maintenance of 330,000 kilometers of undersea systems.