Nortel: Apparent Federal Disinterest in Ericsson Buy

As everyone waits to learn the winners of today’s auction of Nortel Networks Corp.’s enterprise division, one industry observer brings up a good point about the last auction, the one where Ericsson bought the wireless unit: remember all the national security brouhaha over Nortel selling to a foreign company?

All has gone quiet on the western front, as it were.

Blogger Mark McQueen, who owns a financing and venture debt fund in Canada, had thought that country’s government would “find a way to spirit Nortel’s LTE’s assets into RIM’s hands” for the purposes of national security. And, for a while it looked as though BlackBerry maker Research In Motion would indeed get ahold of Nortel’s LTE technology, especially after it argued it is “critical infrastructure technology … and should therefore be owned and continued to be developed by Canadians.”

But Canada’s feds haven’t acted, leading McQueen, and probably others, to conclude that “Ericsson looks to be well-placed to win the day.”

Meanwhile, today’s auction of Nortel’s enterprise unit is underway. Avaya and Siemens are the two known bidders and there could be more. There’s also a lack of clarity around Verizon’s court hearing yesterday protesting a sale to Avaya, and how that might impact the outcome.

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