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Nokia Reported Close to Buying Alcatel's Mobile Networks Unit

The French business daily Les Echoes said an announcement could come "quickly."

Reuters / Stephane Mahe

Finland’s Nokia is close to a deal to buy Alcatel-Lucent’s mobile networks business to boost its core business, especially in the United States and China, Les Echos newspaper reported on Monday.

The French business daily said an announcement could come “quickly,” citing a source close to the matter. The paper said meetings between managers at the two companies had increased since January.

Alcatel and Nokia declined to comment.

Bloomberg reported on Monday that the companies had examined a full takeover of Paris-based Alcatel, but that Nokia was more likely to buy the wireless business.

The business generated sales of 4.7 billion euros last year, or about one third of the group total, Les Echos said.

The newspaper added that any deal would be closely watched by French politicians, as Alcatel was considered a strategic company for the country.

The French economy ministry had no immediate comment.

A source familiar with the matter said on Friday that Nokia was considering selling its Here maps business. Analysts have seen few synergies between the unit and Nokia’s mainstay network equipment business following its exit from handsets. Nokia has hired a financial adviser to explore a sale, the source said.

(Reporting by Ankush Sharma in Bengaluru, James Regan and Jean-Baptiste Vey in Paris and Jussi Rosendahl in Helsinki, editing by David Evans)

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