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Nokia Siemens grabs Nortel's wireless biz

Everything must go in Nortel fire sale

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Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) is buying the wireless business of Nortel, the bankrupt Canadian network equipment maker, for $650m.

It picks up a major CDMA franchise - Nortel supplies three of the world's five biggest CDMA mobile network operators - and "at least 2,500 employees... [This] represents a significant portion of the employees associated with the assets being sold", says Nortel.

NSN also gains some intellectual property in LTE (Long Term Evolution), a fast mobile network technology that some describe as 4G.

The asset sale is presented as a "stalking horse" agreement under Delaware bankruptcy law, which means that rivals could ambush the deal with a higher offer. The Canadian government is sweetening the deal with a $300m loan guarantee.

Nortel, which filed for bankruptcy protection in January, is "advancing in its discussions with external parties to sell its other businesses". If it doesn't get good enough prices it will mull over restructuring alternatives. But it looks like it's all over bar the negotiating.

It is also delisting shares from trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The company has more to say here. ®

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