French optical transport solutions firm is frontrunner to acquire subsea cables business, according to local press report

Ekinops on Thursday confirmed that it is holding preliminary talks with Nokia about the possibility of an acquisition of Alcatel Submarine Networks.

The French provider of optical transport solutions issued a short statement in response to media speculation on the matter.

French business magazine Challenges earlier this week reported that Ekinops is making progress in its quest to acquire Alcatel Submarine Networks, citing unnamed sources.

"The company confirms that it has initiated preliminary discussions with Nokia Corporation regarding a possible acquisition of Alcatel Submarine Networks, Ekinops said."

"There is no certainty at this stage that these discussions can lead to any agreement or any operation," it added.

According to Challenges, Ekinops is currently the favourite to acquire Alcatel Submarine Networks, which has been on Nokia’s disposal list for the past couple of years, ahead of the likes of cable companies Thales and Nexans, and various funds.

Nokia acquired Alcatel Submarine Cables via its €15 billion-plus buyout of Alcatel-Lucent in 2015.

It is viewed as a highly strategic asset by the French state. As such, the fact that state-backed investment bank Bpifrance is among Ekinops’ shareholders could help the would-be buyer broker a deal.

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