MatlinPatterson Sparks Nortel Bidding War

MatlinPatterson has struck.

As expected, the private equity firm, which is a Nortel Networks (NT) creditor and rescuer of distressed companies, today submitted its bid for Nortel’s wireless division, which Nokia Siemens Networks also wants. But MatlinPatterson wants it more.

The New York-based firm has placed a $725 million bid for the wireless group. Nokia Siemens has been expecting to pay $650 million but now that a bidding war is on, could fork out additional dough. Nokia Siemens’ CEO last week didn’t rule out that possibility.

MatlinPatterson placed its bid just days before Nortel’s CDMA and LTE assets go up for auction. The company said in a press release its offer would provide “a superior outcome for Nortel and all of its stakeholders.”

“MatlinPatterson is confident that the CDMA and LTE Access assets can emerge from bankruptcy as a reinvigorated, independent company,” according to the statement. “We have significant experience investing in this industry, and we have spent considerable time over the last several months evaluating Nortel’s businesses. As such, and because MatlinPatterson has been an investor in Nortel for some time now, we are unwilling to accept and will actively take steps to prevent a ‘fire sale’ of Nortel’s core assets followed by the wholesale liquidation of the remaining businesses.”

MatlinPatterson executives said they would expect to partner with Nortel’s current managers and “pursue opportunities to acquire additional Nortel assets.”

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