Ascend board considering Lucent bid

The board of Ascend Communications meets today to consider a recent buyout offer from Lucent Technologies. Lucent's preliminary offer of more than $US16 billion reportedly came almost two weeks ago. A more formal offer will be considered today and the terms of what could become the networking industry's largest ever merger, could be announced as early as tomorrow. There is speculation that Lucent would need data networking technology to handle the changes, such as Internet telephony, that the 'Net is creating in telecommunications.

The board of Ascend Communications meets today to consider a recent buyout offer from Lucent Technologies according to a report today.

Lucent's preliminary offer of more than $US16 billion came almost two weeks ago, according to a story in the Wall Street Journal. A more formal offer will be considered today, according to the report.

The terms of what could become the networking industry's largest ever merger, could be announced as early as tomorrow, said the report.

Lucent's interest in Ascend was rumored more than a year ago, due to speculation that Lucent would need data networking technology to handle the changes, such as Internet telephony, that the 'Net is creating in telecommunications.

Lucent also needs Ascend to compete against networking giants such as Cisco Systems Inc. and Nortel Networks, the latter itself the result of last year's $9.1 billion merger between Bay Networks and Northern Telecom.

Quoting someone close to the discussions, the Journal story said Lucent and Ascend have been in discussions for 18 months. Reportedly, these conversations have taken place directly between Richard McGinn, chief executive officer of Lucent, and Mory Ejabat, his counterpart at Ascend.

Lucent, in Murray Hill, New Jersey, is at +1-908-582-8500 or at http://www.lucent.com/. Ascend, in Alameda, California, can be reached at http://www.ascend.com/.

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