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Lucent to Acquire Australian Telco

The Australian subsidiary of Lucent Technologies has announced it will make an offer to acquire Australian telecommunications company JNA for AUS$114 million.

The move follows an agreement by the major shareholders of JNA to enter into options to allow Lucent to purchase 19.9 per cent of JNA. This option, which is subject to approval by the Foreign Investment Review Board, can be exercised when the takeover for shares becomes unconditional.

JNA is a Sydney-based telecommunications manufacturer, reseller and systems integrator with extensive design and development capabilities. The publicly-held company has approximately 240 employees and had a 1997 calendar year revenue close to AUS$65 million.

According to Lucent, the acquisition would effectively double the company's design and development and sales and service capabilities in the Australian telecommunications market.

Mike Butcher, president of Lucent Technologies Asia Pacific and chairman of the board of Lucent Technologies Australia said: "JNA is a strategic fit that would give us greater sales and support capabilities, more leading-edge technology and impressive new research and development capabilities."

According to Mr Butcher, the acquisition of JNA would support Lucent's rapid expansion in the Asia/Pacific region and global growth plans. If Lucent's offer is successful, the company plans to distribute a number of JNA products globally in addition to continuing to supply them to the Australian market, Mr Butcher said.

Under the acquisition JNA's research and development organisation would most likely be integrated into Lucent's Sydney-based research and development facility to produce technology for the world market as well as strengthen Lucent's ability to rapidly develop products specifically for the Australian market.