Optical/IP Networks

Alcatel/Lucent Decide on New Name

Hold the fanfare. Vendor giants Alcatel (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA) and Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU) have decided on their conjugal name: Once they're merged, the company will be called Alcatel Lucent. (See Alcatel, Lucent Seal Deal.)

News of the lackluster name came in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) inviting Lucent shareholders to a meeting on September 7 in Wilmington, Del., to vote on the merger with Alcatel.

That filing notes: "The combined company created by this merger of equals will be renamed 'Alcatel Lucent,' with effect upon completion of the merger."

But is that the right choice? Take our new reader poll on the issue: What's in a Name?

In that same filing, Lucent CEO Pat Russo, who will also be CEO of the merged company, urges Lucent's shareholders to vote in favor of the marriage, as the merger's "approval and adoption requires the affirmative vote of the holders of at least a majority of the outstanding shares of Lucent common stock."

The filing notes that the merger is expected to be completed by the end of this year, or, by the very latest, March 31, 2007. If the deal isn't sealed by then, though, either party has the right to pull out.

The two companies have been fast-tracking the merger since it was announced in June, and have already announced which of their executives will perform the leading roles in the combined company. (See Lucatel Names More Execs, Lucatel: New Team, Old Faces, Quigley Steps Down as Lucatel COO, Inside Lucatel: Quigley's Not Mad at Pat, and Lucatel Clears Euro Hurdle.)

The duo's move has prompted further vendor consolidation, and more M&A activity is anticipated. (See Is Alcatel Moving on Nortel Mobile Assets?, Nokia, Siemens Create Networks Giant, Is Nortel the Old Maid in Telecom M&A?, and There's a New Bully on the Block.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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straight shooter 12/5/2012 | 3:45:36 AM
re: Alcatel/Lucent Decide on New Name This "name" selection, if you can call it that, just illustrates how inept the marketing folk are at this company (and in this industry for that matter). Either that or they are castrated by internal politics.

Brand identity/loyalty can be your strongest competitive weapon. A merger gives you an opportunity to reinvent, refresh and/or reinforce this brand. What a major opporutnity missed.

But I guess it is appropriate if there will be no "real" change coming from this merger. Now you just have the conjunction of the names of two companies that are slowly suffocating under their own obesity.
optodoofus 12/5/2012 | 3:45:36 AM
re: Alcatel/Lucent Decide on New Name I wonder how much they paid the naming conultants to decide to do ... nothing. I bet they spent at least $1M on this momentous decision.


"I call it "The Brown Circle of Quality" - Dogbert

Goeran 12/5/2012 | 3:45:35 AM
re: Alcatel/Lucent Decide on New Name According to this news site Chinese companies like Huawei and ZTE are pushing those Telecoms Mergers.

"Nimble Newcomer Huawei Pushes Telecoms Mergers"

Do you buy this or is this just China media hype?
jasanz 12/5/2012 | 3:45:35 AM
re: Alcatel/Lucent Decide on New Name Dear LightReading,

The announcement of the new name has been available on the Alcatel website for the last 3 weeks.

While I agree with you that the name is hardly an effort and I was truly expecting something "cool"... I also think that "Nokia-Siemens" or "PriceWaterHouse & Coopers" or other names do not sound bad...
alcaseltzer 12/5/2012 | 3:45:35 AM
re: Alcatel/Lucent Decide on New Name ...all will be aired some day in the future in a HBR case study that documents the name selection process, as was done for the naming of Lucent when it was spun off. :)
firstmile 12/5/2012 | 3:45:34 AM
re: Alcatel/Lucent Decide on New Name I really want to know how much they payed the "yes men" to reinforce this non-decision.

How many powerpoint slides did they review supporting the decision?

Will there be a "new" logo too? Maybe a triangle with a coffee stain next to it? Or maybe even the coffee stain AROUND the triangle...nope, no way on that Patty...Lucent would look too dominent...
...back to the powerpoint

jasanz 12/5/2012 | 3:45:34 AM
re: Alcatel/Lucent Decide on New Name For straight shooter,

Apart of Cisco, could you tell me what other big vendors are NOT "suffocating under their own obesity"?

Having seen how biased Lucent is towards the North American market and how biased Alcatel is toward the European market, creating this huge monster might not be a bad idea. It will be difficult to manage, it will look ugly and very political for some months... but I would rather be "inside" than "in front of". Are Nortel/Siemens/Ericsson going to feel some heat?
Goeran 12/5/2012 | 3:45:34 AM
re: Alcatel/Lucent Decide on New Name By the way: I'd suggest them to merge once more and call the new company "AlcatelLucentEricssonMarconi" or how about "AlcatelLucentErcissonMarconiNokiaSiemens"?
turing 12/5/2012 | 3:45:33 AM
re: Alcatel/Lucent Decide on New Name Actually straight-shooter, I think this isn't that bad an idea, for the same reasons you think it is bad.

Think of how many millions they've spent branding Lucent and Alcatel. They're each well-known names in their respective markets. If they chose a new name it would take many millions and years for it to reach the same recognition level. Most people think the "Lucent" brand change was an example of how bad changing it is. It cost them millions, took them years, and that was primarily in the American market. This is global.

Normal merger brand management tells you to pick the better known name (from a consumer perspective) and move on. That was impossible in this case, so they did the next best thing. Changing names every merger is no smarter than sticking with what people know.

The only question now is, will there be an "AL" acronym shorthand for it. Better to do that than let people combine ALA and LU to be ALALU, or maybe ACLU?
Or maybe they should make it ALLU pronnounced "All-You" would be clever, because the slogan could be "It's All <about> You" or "It's All You need" or something.

firstmile 12/5/2012 | 3:45:33 AM
re: Alcatel/Lucent Decide on New Name Turing,
Further reinforcement for the old adage, "Don't try this at home"

or DTTAH, pronounced Dittah.
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