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Private equity firms trump Nortel for Avaya's hand

$8bn wedding ring

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Avaya is close to selling itself to private equity firms Silver Lake partners and Texas Pacific Group for more than $8bn, bumping Nortel as top bidder.

The firms are expected to pay about $17 per share in a deal which may be announced as early as today, reports the New York Times citing unnamed sources. Avaya's shares closed Friday at $16.08.

Although the firms appear to have bested an offer from Avaya's telecommunications rival Nortel, the Times cautions that talks are still ongoing.

Speculation on a buyout arose Wednesday after Avaya postponed its annual Wall Street analysts' meeting, without explanation or setting a new date.

Avaya's small size compared with rivals Cisco, Nortel and Alcatel-Lucent make it a prime candidate for purchase in a mushrooming telecoms and data networking equipment sector.

Avaya was formerly a division of AT&T and later AT&T spin-out Lucent before spinning off into its own company in 2000. The company claims to be the market leader in office equipment for web-based telephone calls. ®

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