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Siemens Denies Alcatel Lust

HAMLOVER, Germany -- CeBIT 2004 -- Could the uptick in the telecom industry be heralding a return of large acquisition rumors?

Siemens AG (NYSE: SI; Frankfurt: SIE) was today forced to deny that it is preparing a bid for fellow European vendor Alcatel SA (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA) folowing a report in a French newsletter, La Lettre de l'Expansion.

While Dow Jones reported the German company as saying the suggestion was without any foundation, a Siemens spokesman at the CeBIT tradeshow simply laughed off the rumor. He suggested that a collaboration between the two companies announced this week may have been the catalyst (see T-Com, Alcatel, Siemens Partner on VOIP).

Alcatel is not commenting on the rumor.

But would such a marriage make any sense? Nein and Non, says the multilingual Scott Clavenna, chief analyst at Heavy Reading. "My head spins at the thought of it. There is sooo much overlap I’m not sure what the point would be. Also, these companies have such deep national ties, it would be quite an undertaking," proclaimed Clavenna just before his head twisted right off and hit the floor.

The analyst's severed head recalled the talks several years ago between Alcatel and Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU) concerning a potential merger, "but that failed, and this seems even harder to pull off."(See Lucent/Alcatel Rumors Fly and Alcatel, Lucent Throw in the Towel.)

Clavenna has recently completed a report analyzing the potential for acquisitions and IPOs in the recovering telecom market (see Telecom Recovery Investment Opportunities). He noted in the report that any Siemens M&A activity would center around extending its reach into new regions or market segments.

Siemens's share price is down $1.34 today at $72.68, a price that values the German conglomerate at $64.65 billion. Alcatel's share price is down slightly today at $15.32, valuing the company at $19.7 billion.

— Ray Le Maistre, International Editor, Boardwatch

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