Alcatel is considering a £5 billion bid for the French defence group Thales (C101), says the UK’s Sunday Times newspaper.
It reports that Alcatel is considering the takeover to maintain and grow its position in the international telecommunications markets.
Analysts also cite French political wrangling over Thales as a reason for the potential bid, the Sunday Times reports.
The future of Thales, in which the French government has a 31% stake, has been uncertain since last year’s attempted takeover by EADS. Alcatel already has a 9.5% stake in Thales, making it the second-largest shareholder, but analysts say it is keen to go much further.
Alcatel chief executive Serge Tchuruk recently told a conference that the French government needs to decide what it wants to do with Thales. “It is very urgent that the state announces its intentions,” he says. “The workforce at Thales can’t be left in a permanent state of uncertainty.”
If true, the Alcatel move could trigger a bidding war among the other hi-tech defence contractors, although the two likely outcomes are an all Alcatel-owned Thales, or a partnership between Alcatel and EADS.

Source: Flight Daily News