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Lucent and Ascend tie the knot at last

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Lucent Technologies today ended months of speculation and agreed to buy Ascend Communications in a $20 billion stock deal, increasing competition in the communications networking arena. The phone equipment maker will exchange 0.825 of its shares for each Ascend share. That values networking manufacturer Ascend slightly higher than expected at $89 a share based on Lucent’s close yesterday. The acquisition will turn up the heat on Cisco Systems, the networking giant. Now that Lucent has netted Alameda, California-based Ascend’s powerful computer switches, it can compete in the market for Internet equipment sold to phone companies. Lucent chairman and CEO, Rich McGinn, said: "The merger positions Lucent to be a clear leader in communications networking and will have a significant impact on enhancing shareholder value." Ascend chief executive Mory Ejabat will stay with the company for "a transition period", according to Lucent. ®

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