Lucent goes after One.Tel assets

Lucent Technologies, owed over A$1 billion (US$517 million) by failed Australian telco One.Tel Ltd., has appointed its own receiver for One.Tel’s assets.

The giant U.S. company has problems of its own, though, with reports it will cut another 5,000 staff [see story –

Report says Lucent to axe additional 5,000 jobs

]. And it is fighting off suggestions it is confronting its own oblivion.

PricewaterhouseCoopers has scored the role of receiver for Lucent.

The move by Lucent, to recover much of the network equipment it put in place for One.Tel, will be quietly welcomed by local competitors like Cisco, who cannot afford to have the Australian market flooded with cheap competitive gear because of a fire sale by One.Tel’s other administrator, Ferrier Hodgson.

The Packer and Murdoch family (One.Tel investors) camps, and now Lucent, are squared over the near corpse of One.Tel. While the pickings aren’t rich, none of the companies – in particular the Murdoch family’s News Corp., which has trimmed expenses aggressively in recent months in anticipation of a DirecTV acquisition – can really afford to give ground.

Among the bones they will be picking over is the outstanding A$170 million owed to One.Tel by its customers.

Meanwhile, other reports suggest that One.Tel founder Jodee Rich will shortly break his silence on the affair. His lawyers claim Rich is as surprised as anyone at the parlous state of the company.

Lucent Technologies headquarters is in Murray Hill, N.J. and can be reached at