Friday, July 24, 2009

Ericsson also bidding for Nortel's wireless business

Sweden's Ericsson has entered the bid to acquire the next-generation wireless business of Nortel.

Toronto-based Nortel, which is selling its various divisions as part of its liquidation plan, will auction its wireless business Friday in New York.

Till now, Nokia Siemens Networks and America's MatlinPatterson Global Opportunities Partners were the two bidders, with Canada's BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) shut out because of its refusal to sign non-disclosure agreements with Nortel.

The BlackBerry maker has said it is ready to offer $1.1 billion to Nortel for its wireless unit, much higher than Nokia Siemens's starting offer of $650 million and MatlinPatterson's $725 million.

Confirming that it is bidding for Nortel's wireless business, the Swedish telecom giant refused to say how much it is offering to Nortel.

However, reports here put Ericsson's offer at $730 million, making it the highest bidder.

"We will pursue the opportunity to the point that it makes sense,'' Ericsson spokesperson Kathy Egan told the Canadian Press.

"It's an interesting opportunity and we're always looking for ways to create value for Ericsson,'' she said.

Ericsson, which has been a long-time rival to Nortel in the global market as a supplier to phone companies, has a research and development centre in Montreal.

Nortel has not revealed the names of any other bidders for the court-supervised auction Friday. The 127-year-old Nortel, which was once the global telecom equipment maker giant, has been operating under bankruptcy protection since January after posting a $5-billion loss last year.

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