Nokia “formally affirmed” its commitment to drive innovation in France as part of its proposed acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent, following ongoing talks with the French government.
As part of its concessions to get the €15.6 billion deal approved, Nokia previously said it will throw its weight behind Alcatel-Lucent’s Shift Plan, pledging to maintain employment in the country for at least two years after the transaction completes.
With the combined entity set to be renamed Nokia Corp, and headquartered in Finland, there were concerns that France could be reluctant to approve the deal, which sees a national company fall into the hands of a foreign player.
In a statement, Nokia said CEO Rajeev Suri met with France’s Minister of Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs yesterday to discuss the finer details of Nokia’s role in the country.
The Finnish vendor said France will play a leading role in the combined entity’s Research and Development (R&D) operations, with employees increasing from 2,000 to 2,500 over the next three years, including the employment of at least 300 graduates. This employment level in R&D will be maintained for a period of four years, after the deal completes.
Nokia said it will also build on Alcatel-Lucent’s competencies in key technology areas, and committed to grow its talent base through worldwide technology centres located in France, “that will focus on 5G and small cells, cyber security and privacy, Bell Labs, wireless transmission, optical transmission and IP platforms”.
Nokia also said it intends to support the development of the overall telecoms ecosystem in France, pledging to invest €100 million through a long term investment fund targetting IoT, cyber security and software platform enablers for next-generation networks.
It will also “ensure the continuity of Alcatel-Lucent’s current initiatives” and play an active role in the government’s ongoing plans to develop technology in the country.
The transaction, which could be completed in the first half of 2016, still remains subject to a number of closing conditions, “including Nokia shareholder approvals, Nokia holding 50 per cent of Alcatel-Lucent’s fully diluted share capital following completion of the exchange offer, receipt of the remaining regulatory approvals and other customary conditions”, read the statement.
The deal, which is also going through a lengthy global regulatory approval process, has received the green light in a number of key markets, including Brazil, India, Europe and the US.