Poll: Merging Is Surging

Building up is the way to go, readers say.

The latest Light Reading poll asked readers to pick the most profitable way to build a dominant telecom equipment company. Half of the 152 respondents so far believe one should buy a number of smaller, targeted companies.

About one-fourth say that merging with a rival is the way to go.

All these questions come up, of course, because of the pending Alcatel (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA) merger with Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU). That deal reportedly has set off a frenzy of speed dating, as every big equipent vendor seems to be looking to buy something. (See Alcatel, Lucent Seal Deal and Alcatel/Lucent: The Domino Factor.)

Most eyes are on Siemens Communications Group , which 21 percent of readers think is the next domino to fall. Maybe that's because Light Reading and others keep saying the communications group is up for sale, with the latest potential buyer being Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) (See Siemens Comm Has M&A Callers.)

With Siemens in front, Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) and Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) are being voted the next most likely candidates, at 18 percent apiece. Juniper has been rumored as an Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) target -- something Ericsson recently denied -- and Nortel, well, keeps updating us with news about how much trouble it's having with accounting. (See Analysts Dismiss Ericsson/Juniper Talk and Nortel Provides Status Update.)

The most likely acquirer? That's Ericsson, which leads with 32 percent of the vote. Motorola and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) aren't far behind. But only 3 percent think Alcatel/Lucent will pull an SBC/AT&T/BellSouth and make the next big deal. (See Ma Bell Is Back!.)

Feeling left out? There's still time to vote -- up until noon Eastern time on Tuesday, April 25. Check out the poll at: More Merger Mania.

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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