Ericsson Set to Buy Marconi?

Word on the street (and many newspapers) is that Ericsson is in talks which could quickly lead to the takeover of Marconi. The troubled equipment maker which missed out on BT’s 21CN contract round said in August that it was in talks leading to a possible sale. At the time Marconi was valued at around £600m and Chinese firm Huawei Technologies thought to be the likely suitor.

But Ericsson could pay as much as £1.3bn for the firm, assuming debt and pension fund obligations. This is twice its current market value, according to documents seen by the Mail on Sunday. The deal could be announced within days. Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan and Lazard are acting for Marconi and Enskilda for Ericsson.

Marconi shares rose have risen of late but the company told Reuters that it would not comment on rumours. Figures for the first quarter, ended June 30 2005, revealed a loss of £36m – much of it blamed on costs associated with the failure to win any business from building BT’s new network.