With few exceptions, when companies say they "merged," what they're really saying is that one company was acquired. Why don't they just say that? Maybe it's an ego thing, but for whatever reason, many acquired companies don't want to fess up. And the acquiring company helps the target save face.
That's kind of what happened here. The companies went to great lengths to try to hide the fact that Alcatel was buying Lucent. They used terms like "merger of equals" to disguise the fact. Some investors might think — that Lucent is an equal in the deal because Lucent CEO Pat Russo will be CEO of the new company.
But as savvy investors know, to find the truth, follow the money.