Finland’s Nokia Oyj is close to a deal to buy Alcatel-Lucent’s mobile networks unit that will boost its core business, especially in the United States and China.
An announcement could come anytime soon, Reuters reported Tuesday, citing French newspaper Les Echos.
Alcatel and Nokia declined to comment.
On Monday, Bloomberg reported that the companies had examined a full takeover of Paris-based telecom equipment maker Alcatel but that Nokia was more likely to buy the wireless business.
The unit generated sales of 4.7 billion euros (US$4.97 billion) last year, about one-third of the group total, Les Echos said.
Any deal would be closely watched by French politicians, as Alcatel is considered a strategic business, it said.
The French economy ministry declined to comment.
A source familiar with the matter said on Friday that Nokia was considering selling its HERE maps business which last year had net sales of 969 million euros.
Analysts have seen little synergy between the unit and Nokia’s mainstay network gear business. Nokia has hired a financial adviser to explore a sale, the source said.
Shares of Nokia and Alcatel rose on Monday as analysts welcomed a possible sale of the Nokia unit as a likely precursor to consolidation of Alcatel’s wireless business.
Alcatel and Nokia had held sporadic talks for years before the Finnish company sold its struggling handset business to Microsoft Corp. a year ago, leaving Nokia to concentrate on developing the networks business.
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