LONDON Readers of CMP Technology sister website Light Reading believe the merger of Alcatel and Lucent Technologies Inc. will result in more layoffs than projected by the companies, and that Lucent will bear the brunt of the carnage.
The merger is being finalized Thursday (Nov. 30) and with the combined group's power center shifting to Paris, Lucent Technologies Inc. will cease to exist.
When the merger was announced in April, the companies said the combined headcount would drop by about 10 percent. Of readers responding to Light Reading's "AlcaLu: Threat or Menace" poll, 63 percent said the job cuts would go deeper than that.
Twenty-five percent say AlcaLu will be true to its word on the 10 percent layoff, while 7 percent say less than 10 percent of employees will be let go.
Light Readers also suggested most of the pink slips will land on Lucent desks. 70 percent of respondents believe the headcount reduction will have the greatest impact on New Jersey-based Lucent, while only 6 percent say the majority will come from Alcatel. Twenty-four percent believe it will be about equal.
And 54 percent reckon Alcatel-Lucent will be a stronger rival for its competitors, while only 27 percent say the competition will look back fondly on the day Alcatel and Lucent wed.
Notably, almost 20 percent of those who took the poll say the merger will make no competitive difference at all.
Lucent has its roots in one of the oldest telephone companies -- Western Electric -- which was founded in 1869 and later became part of AT&T. These assets ended up becoming part of AT&T's technology arm, including what is now Bell Labs, which were spun off in the mid-'90s when AT&T was broken up.
Lucent's culminating moment as an independent company came with its IPO in 1996, at the beginnings of tech-bubble fever. Its profits and stock price would skyrocket with the advancement of the telecom balloon.
Several years later, Lucent would hit an abyss after regulators and investors uncovered accounting irregularities and billions of dollars in losses, forcing the company to fire former CEO Rich McGinn and begin a long process of restructuring. Lucent would end up having less than a third of the employees it had at the time of its IPO.