Alcatel sells distribution unit to private US firm

French telecommunication equipment maker Alcatel SA will sell its European enterprise distribution and services business to Los Angeles-based Platinum Equity, a venture capital firm that focuses on buyouts of technology companies, the two companies announced Wednesday.

Alcatel wants to focus on its core business, the development and marketing of networking technology, rather than on distribution, said spokesman Klaus Wustrack, adding that the deal should not disrupt relationships with existing customers, and that service quality will not suffer as a result of outsourcing to partners.

“I really think the customers will benefit from this multichannel approach overall,” he said. “First of all we have a very intensive qualification system, a certification program, for business partners. They have to make an investment, financially and in training themselves. We on the other hand are keeping a strong service organization, with (toll-free) 800 numbers, with everything you need to help service the partners. … It’s not as if the customers won’t be able to talk to us anymore.”

He refused to give financial details of the deal, noting that Platinum Equity is privately held, but added that the distribution business, which serves 400,000 business clients in 17 European countries, brought in revenue of