updated 10/25/2005 8:54:39 AM ET 2005-10-25T12:54:39

Wireless equipment maker LM Ericsson said Tuesday it is buying the international services and telecommunications equipment businesses of British rival Marconi Corp. PLC for about $2.1 billion.

The businesses being acquired represent about 75 percent of the Marconi's revenue.

Marconi will be renamed Telent PLC and will become a services provider to telecommunications companies, Ericsson said.

"Ericsson and Marconi know each other well and have had a successful partnership for over 10 years," Ericsson Chief Executive Carl-Henric Svanberg said. "We bring together two pioneering telecom companies with a combined heritage of more than two centuries in the industry."

Stockholm-based Ericsson is the world's top maker of equipment for mobile phone networks. Marconi is a British institution that traces its roots in part to the company founded in 1897 by Guglielmo Marconi, the Italian inventor of radio.

But Marconi struggled to compete with rivals such as Ericsson and the Chinese company Huawei Technologies Inc. The turning point came earlier this year when BT awarded a 10 billion pound ($17.8 billion) contract to build a new network — and Marconi, a longtime BT supplier, lost out. The company cut 800 of its 10,000 jobs and announced a restructuring.

Svanberg said job cuts would be unavoidable, and he expected around 1,000 job losses.

Svanberg said the Marconi assets will accelerate Ericsson's migration to next generation networks. "As fixed and mobile services converge, our customers will substantially benefit from this powerful combination," he said.

The deal is contingent on approval from competition authorities and shareholders, Marconi said, but the company expects it to be completed at the end of January.

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