Bay Networks president and chief executive Andy Ludwick has had to contend with incessant rumours over his tenure at Bay in the past four weeks - including speculation the company was a takeover target. He told reporters last week that reports of his departure from Bay Networks were the result of an interview in which his comments were taken out of context. Venture capitalists and prominent industry figures in California were last week still under the impression Mr Ludwick had been forced out or had left Bay Networks. 'I talked with a New York Times reporter and it basically started a frenzy,' Mr Ludwick said. 'But if you look at the article there are no quotations, they are simply his statements. 'Two weeks ago I talked to 190 analysts to clarify the situation. With customers it really hasn't been much of an issue. I have had to make maybe three or four calls.' He said there would be no point in attacking the source of the original article. 'If you wrestle with pigs, it's going to get muddy and they're going to like it,' he said. Bay Networks, profitable over the past two quarters, has recently been on the technology acquisition trail, with some notable acquisitions. However, industry sources have been suggesting that a recent alliance with AT&T spin-off Lucent Technologies was more than just a co-operative agreement. When asked if Bay was itself an acquisition target, Mr Ludwick said he could not comment because of regulatory reasons. He could not, however, rule it out. Bay's rivals including Cisco Systems, 3Com and USRobotics have announced plans to increase their presence in the telecoms equipment supply market - a field in which Lucent excels.