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Nortel Confirms MEN Auction Delay, Closes Ericsson Sale

Nortel Networks has confirmed the delay of its Metro Ethernet Networks (MEN) unit auction and closed the sale of its CDMA and LTE assets to Ericsson.

On Friday, Nortel issued a statement saying it will wait until Nov. 17 to collect all bids for its optical division. The event was scheduled to take place today. But Nortel reportedly wants more and higher offers. Ciena Corp. is the official first bidder and it has committed to paying $521 million.

Nortel said it will update the industry next week about the auction’s new date.

Meanwhile, the bankrupt telecom equipment maker has completed the sale of its wireless business to Ericsson. Ericsson won the hotly contested auction in July with a $1.13 billion bid, and now gains access to important markets in the Untied States and Canada. In fact, North America just became Ericsson’s largest region, the company said on Friday.

Perhaps the best news, though, is that more than 2,500 Nortel employees in China and North America are being moved to Ericsson.

The two companies also have a plan in place for CDMA customers. Ericsson will provide Nortel with products and services to support CDMA users still with Nortel.

“Separately, our two companies played leading roles in freeing voice telephony from its fixed limitations,” Hans Vestberg, Ericsson’s incoming president and CEO, said in a prepared statement. “Together, we will do the same for broadband – make it mobile and bring the benefits of high-speed data connectivity to the majority of the world’s population.”

Nortel, which filed Chapter 11 in January, has spent 2009 parting out its assets as it tries to make money to pay creditors.


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