Network technology company Alcatel-Lucent has received a US$1.5 billion offer to sell its call centre technology business, Genesys, to European private equity firm Permira.
Alcatel-Lucent said, in announcing the proposed acquisition yesterday, that the deal was expected to close by the end of 2011, or at the beginning of 2012. The agreement will first have to be reviewed by the US Committee on Foreign Investment.
Genesys, which began back in 1990, was bought out by the company then known as Alcatel in January 2000. In 2010, Genesys accounted for US$500 million in sales for Alcatel-Lucent, and employs 1800 people worldwide.
Alcatel-Lucent CEO Ben Verwaayen said that the company intends to retain its enterprise division, which does offer call centre services, but sell off the Genesys business.
"Permira's intended acquisition of Genesys would enable this profitable business to flourish further; with Enterprise, we have reached the conclusion that retaining it and strengthening it further serves Alcatel-Lucent and our customers best," he said in a statement. "Our chosen direction is to leverage the natural connections that exist between enterprise and carrier customers, and proactively apply Enterprise's strengths and momentum in unified communications and data networking with them."
Under the arrangement, Genesys and Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise would have a joint development agreement, and the two companies would continue to be able to share product portfolios.
Alcatel-Lucent Australia has been contacted for comment on the impact of this transaction on the Australian business and its employees; however, no comment had been received at the time of writing.
In August, Alcatel-Lucent Asia-Pacific senior vice president Michael McBrien said that he expects call centre licences to be a thing of the past within five years, as more companies look to have their call centre services delivered via the cloud.