More bidders tussle for Nortel’s assets

Up for sale

Nortel might be rethinking its offer from Nokia Siemens, after a private equity firm put in a bid today of $725 million (457 million) $125 million more than its rivals for its wireless assets.

New York company MatlinPatterson said in a statement: "We welcome the opportunity to work with potential strategic partners to leverage Nortel's resources and leading LTE technology long into the future."

Nokia Siemens bid $650 million at the end of last month for Nortel's CDMA business and LTE assets, with the agreement it would keep on 2,500 of its employees.

However, it seems Nokia Siemens and MatlinPatterson are not the only companies interested in struggling Nortel's wireless technology.

BlackBerry makers Research in Motion (RIM) released a statement yesterday that said the company had been excluded from the bidding process, due to come to a head on Friday, even though it was willing to pay $1.1 billion for the assets.

The statement said: "RIM was told it could be qualified only if it promised not to submit offers for other Nortel assets for a period of one year."

It admitted that the company was looking to buy more assets in the future "to retain key portions of Nortel's business under Canadian ownership". According to RIM, "despite repeated efforts, Nortel, its advisors and its court-appointed monitor have rejected RIM's repeated attempts to engage in meaningful discussions."

Avaya bid

While the wireless assets are fought over, analysts have focused on yesterday's announcement that Avaya had bid for Nortel's Enterprise Businesses.

A report from Gartner emphasised the end of speculation around the division and how the offer should bring some certainty for Nortel customers.

But it also said: "Widespread rumours suggest that counter-bids for the whole Nortel company or for the enterprise unit could materialise before the courts make their ruling, which Gartner believes is likely to happen in the next 45 to 60 days."

The report warned new customers to delay any investment in the company's solutions until a deal has been done.

Ovum also questioned the deal. The analyst firm admitted the deal would give Avaya 30 per cent of the global contact centre market and solidify its lead in North America.

However, it also said it would leave the company with a "confused product portfolio with a good deal of overlap and a channel that has been beaten, bruised and battered during Nortel's long sunset."

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.