Nortel Closer to Possibility of MatlinPatterson Buyout

MatlinPatterson Global Advisors, a private-equity firm that specializes in buying distressed companies, has edged closer to making a rescue bid for Nortel Networks Corp. (NT).

Talks apparently advanced over the weekend, and media quote an unnamed source familiar with MatlinPatterson as confirming the company’s interest in buying and restoring bankrupt Nortel.

Nortel won’t comment – companies rarely do address “rumor and speculation.” If the deal transpires, it would put a kink in the works for Nokia Siemens Networks, which hopes to buy Nortel’s wireless unit, thereby adding CDMA and more LTE technology to its portfolio. That’s not a sure thing, though. A bankruptcy judge has approved a July 24 auction where parties will bid for that unit and, perhaps, the whole of Nortel.

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