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Thales to buy Alcatel satellite unit
Posted: Wed, Apr 5, 2006, 8:05 PM ET (0005 GMT)
French defense electronics company Thales has agreed to purchase the satellite manufacturing division of Alcatel, the two companies announced Wednesday. Thales will spend €1.74 billion (US$2.14 billion) in cash and stock to acquire Alcatel's 67-percent stake in Alcatel Alenia Space, the satellite manufacturer formed last year by merging the satellite operations of Alcatel and Finmeccanica. The sale was triggered by the merger of Alcatel and Lucent, a US telecom equipment manufacturer; the French government wanted to ensure that Alcatel's satellite manufacturing capability remained in French or European hands. EADS, which owns the other major European satellite manufacturer, reportedly also was interested in acquiring Alcatel's satellite unit, but lost to Thales. Thales executives said Wednesday that they would be open to future deals with both EADS and Finmeccanica.
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