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Nokia Agrees to Buy Alcatel-Lucent for $16.6 Billion

The Finnish company is also reviewing strategic alternatives for its Here maps business.

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Nokia said late Tuesday that it plans to buy rival network gear maker Alcatel-Lucent for 15.6 billion euros ($16.6 billion) in stock.

The deal has been approved by both companies’ boards but still requires regulatory and other approvals. Nokia said it expects the deal to close in the first half of 2016.

Nokia also confirmed it is considering a potential sale of its Here mapping unit, one of three businesses that remained after the company sold its mobile phone unit to Microsoft.

“That review is ongoing, it may or may not lead to a transaction, and any further announcements about Here will be made in due course, as appropriate,” Nokia said in a statement.

Both its plans to buy Alcatel-Lucent and its interest in potentially selling the maps business had come to light in recent days.

Nokia Technologies — the company’s third business — serves as Nokia’s patent holding and invention arm and will be unaffected by the Alcatel-Lucent deal, Nokia said.

In that deal, Alcatel-Lucent shareholders will get 0.55 shares of Nokia for each Alcatel-Lucent share they own. Nokia shareholders would own nearly two-thirds of the company and Alcatel-Lucent just over a third.

Current Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri will hold the same role in the combined company, which will keep the Nokia brand name and Finland headquarters, with key offices in France, Germany, the U.S. and China.

The Nokia press release takes pains to stress the continued role that the combined company will have in France.

“Nokia is a global company, with deep roots and heritage in many parts of the world. When it joins with Alcatel-Lucent, it also expects that France, where Alcatel-Lucent is a fundamental participant in the technology ecosystem, will be a vibrant center of the combined company,” Nokia said.

As part of that presence, Nokia said it intends to launch a 100 million euro investment fund focused on French startups working in the Internet of Things/industrial Internet area. It also will have a 5G and small cell research center as well as a new cyber security lab.

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