Lucent to buy INS for $US3.7 billion

Lucent Technologies said yesterday that it plans to buy International Network Services Inc (INS), a California-based data networking company, in a stock deal valued at about $US3.7 billion.

INS is a network consulting vendor that plans, designs and installs computer networks, and develops software for data networks. Lucent officials said that the merger is expected to give it a greater push into professional services and support in those markets.

The INS acquisition will allow Lucent, an AT&T spin-off based in New Jersey, to expand its NetCare offerings providing customers improved network design and consulting services, officials said. NetCare has more than 10,000 corporate and service provider customers.

INS was founded in 1991 to consult with large corporate clients who have multivendor, complicated data networks. The company went public in 1996 and, according to Lucent, is the globe's largest publicly-traded network services organisation.

The deal was reported first in Tuesday's edition of the Wall Street Journal and was confirmed by Lucent that morning in an official statement.

Lucent has been gradually building up its presence in the data networking market. In June of this year, the vendor said it would purchase privately-held Nexabit Networks, a company that makes switching and routing equipment for IP (internet protocol) WANs (wide area networks), for over $900 million.

Also in June, Lucent completed its more than $20 billion acquisition of Ascend Communications, which specialises in WAN core switching and data networking equipment for customers including telecommunications carriers and ISPs (internet service providers).

In the fiscal year ended June 30, 1999, INS reported revenues of $315.1 million and net income of $32.2 million, excluding a one-time acquisition charge in the second quarter, according to information on the company's Web site.

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