European Telecoms Connect To The U.S.

The success of the Internet has emboldened the networking technology industry, and European telecommunications companies are turning to the U.S. to acquire the technology needed to join in -- and, not so incidentally, to compete with American operators on their own turf. Britain's General Electric Co. PLC is spending $2.1 billion to acquire Reltec Corp., a network equipment supplier. The Reltec acquisition is expected to provide the British group with access to a new customer business with such U.S. telecommunications firms as AT&T Corp., Bell Atlantic Corp., and BellSouth. Meanwhile, in the wake of its agreement this week to buy Xylan Corp. for $2 billion, France's Alcatel SA, is acquiring Assured Access Technology Inc., Milpitas, Calif., for $358 million. The deals appear aimed at strengthening Alcatel's position in the fast-growing data networking market.

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