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Optical/IP

We'll Always Have Jersey

Such were the rallying cries behind the proposed Lucent/Alcatel merger, which turned out to be about as exciting as watching an expurgated Last Tango in Paris on late-night television.

Actually, no. It was better than that. Perhaps the story has potential as a French farce.

Premise: A prominent member of the Old World aristocracy decides to merge with a crumbling American business empire.

Setting: A board room somewhere in northern New Jersey. Catering by Krispy Kreme.

The stakes: Billions of dollars.

The cost of pride: Priceless.

The characters:

  • A megalomaniacal French executive: Convinced he is going to take over the North American telecommunications market, he ends up spilling his coffee and going home in a huff. Zut Alors!

  • The delusional American chairman of a fallen corporation: Convinced the quality of his board of directors is key to the deal. (Note to Henry Schacht and board of directors: Have you noticed the stock price of your company is 70 percent below the IPO price established in 1996?)

  • Curious shareholders: Have no idea what to do in the situation, other than sell shares.

  • Overearnest journalists: Whisper in hushed tones about their access to executives, yet get everything wrong. It's $40 billion! No, wait, $28.5 billion! There's a premium! No premium! The deal's definitely on! The deals definitely off!

  • Federal officials: Alerted to the potential of antitrust issues, they show up and eat some of the donuts (those with the jelly centers).

    Come to think of it, it played more like bad American television than French farce. It's a little bit like when Tattoo, the vertically variant character on Fantasy Island, got married. At the time, it was mildly interesting – and certainly strange – but in the long run? The show got cancelled.

  • Scott Raynovich 12/4/2012 | 8:21:12 PM
    re: We'll Always Have Jersey what was the point of that?

    Actually, I think that was exactly the point.
    fk 12/4/2012 | 8:21:12 PM
    re: We'll Always Have Jersey Sometimes, after writing something, the most intelligent choice is not to bother posting it. Aside from criticising all the players, a chest beating exercise already enthusiastically engaged in by the denizens of the boards here and elsewhere as well as by other "professional" e-zine article writers, this article offered nothing. No insight into any of the interesting issues surrounding the proposed merger was offered. No analysis was provided. Should I bring up Gertrude Stein's quip about Oakland again? It fits.

    That seemed to be largely content-free. That was like a "heart-beat" press release put out by a company that nobody's heard of in awhile. Why bother? I got the distinct impression that it was whipped together in a matter of minutes simply to satisfy a deadline. You've got to post "something," so you posted that. I'm just afraid that it hardly qualifies as "something."
    joe_average 12/4/2012 | 8:21:11 PM
    re: We'll Always Have Jersey >>Sometimes, after writing something, the most intelligent choice is not to bother posting it.<<

    Come on - lighten up. A tongue-in-cheek analysis of an intrinsically funny situation may not be for everyone taste but it certainly wasn't over the top.
    guru 12/4/2012 | 8:20:59 PM
    re: We'll Always Have Jersey "the online magazine you love to hate!"

    seems to fit many of the readers.
    marcymultiwave 12/4/2012 | 8:20:53 PM
    re: We'll Always Have Jersey Jeez.... Lighten up! It was hysterical and a "light" moment for a change. Laughter is good for the soul.
    fatchance 12/4/2012 | 8:20:47 PM
    re: We'll Always Have Jersey Why do you think they call it "Light" Reading.
    ricainus 12/4/2012 | 8:20:35 PM
    re: We'll Always Have Jersey "Intrinsically funny"?

    Pleased you were amused. Most of the rest of us were horrified. Bell Labs, the birthplace of Unix, fiber optics and God-knows how many other key innovations/inventions was about to be filched by the French. And that was "funny"?

    A multi-billion dollar company was being sought for about a tenth of its fair market value in better times, and this was "funny"?

    That Lucent management thought it was negotiating a parity merger was hilarious, not funny. Hadn't they seen what happened at Chrysler?

    I must have lost my sense of humor somewhere. Oh, yes, I remember where now. It was a week ago when rumors of the Lucent-Alcatel link-up first started frothing.

    smoking_craters 12/4/2012 | 8:20:17 PM
    re: We'll Always Have Jersey It's a dessert topping AND a floor wax!

    I tried reading it as tongue in cheek and, you know what, it's pretty funny.

    Then I tried reading it for serious content. Megalomaniacal French Executive meets Delusional American Chairman is probably the correct view of the core of the (failed) transaction.

    Having been involved in a couple of these before, I can tell you that ego and delusion are probably just as relevant as valuation and vision.

    Keep it up, Scott!
    Lieut_Kije 12/4/2012 | 8:18:18 PM
    re: We'll Always Have Jersey I'LL TELL YOU WHAT THE POINT WAS!

    First, let's recap:

    1) Look at what's happened to the incompetent bastards that have ruined Lucent:

    a) McGinn is drawing a $1M annual pension.
    b) The former CFO is now working at Avaya.
    c) The board of directors "takes under consideration" a shareholder initiative, a doomed attempt to get rid of the board, to change the term of board membership to just one year.

    2) Thousands of hardworking Lucent employees that earned merely a fraction of managements' salaries get laid off.

    3) Shareholders and employees of Lucent have their dreams ruined as the stock becomes nearly worthless.

    The purpose of the article is to send a message to the human leeches running Lucent and that message is:

    Hey McGinn, Board of Directors, and Lucent Upper Management! Do you really want to cut costs at Lucent? Instead of firing useful employees, why not stick a rifle barrel down your throats and blow your fucking brains out!
    SoftwareBoy 12/4/2012 | 8:18:16 PM
    re: We'll Always Have Jersey Yow! This is one ticked off dude! But I like it.

    "a) McGinn is drawing a $1M annual pension."

    Yeah, that sticks in the craw. The guy was a complete incompetent, a disaster in every way, yet he can sit back and watch the money roll in until he finally croaks. Ahhh, but when the end comes for Tricky Dick Mcginn, he'll have to go to his grave knowing he was handed a gold mine and turned it into a scrap heap. Hmmmm, what'll his last words be? I mean, instead of "Rosebud." Maybe... "Ascend!"??

    "2) Thousands of hardworking Lucent employees that earned merely a fraction of managements' salaries get laid off."

    Well, not ALL of them are hardworking, that's for sure! But plenty of great talent got let go, and far more walked out the door. And gee, I wonder if ANY six-figure execs took a pay cut? Hah!

    "3) Shareholders and employees of Lucent have their dreams ruined as the stock becomes nearly worthless."

    You know, as "the most widely held stock in America", you gotta figure a LOT of average Joes took a bath on Lucent. Probably a LOT of bad karma hovering over Lucent. Turnaround? Hah.

    "Hey McGinn, Board of Directors, and Lucent Upper Management! Do you really want to cut costs at Lucent? Instead of firing useful employees, why not stick a rifle barrel down your throats and blow your fucking brains out!"

    Hmmm. Well, first of all, as a cost cutting mechanism, it actually makes some sense. I would approve it should it appear on the next proxy. As for McGinn, since he's already gone, I suspect he won't go along with the plan, but since it's New Jersey maybe we can pay Furio from the Sopranos to go kick the shit out of him.

    As for the precise mechanism used, if you stick the rifle DOWN your throat, how do you blow your brains out? Seems appropriate enough for Lucent though. Maybe they can bring it up at the next board meeting.
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