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Ciena Laying Off Workers Post-Nortel Deal After All

Corporate America can be a cruel mistress. In late March, as Ciena Corp. (CIEN) took over Nortel Networks’ Ethernet assets, assurances ran rather freely that employment, not pink slips, would remain the norm.

We should have known better.

Ciena said in a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing on Wednesday that it will in fact get rid of some workers. Even though the Maryland-based telecom equipment maker earlier this year said it’ll spend $180 million on integrating Nortel, perhaps executives grew overly optimistic? Or, if the Wall Street Journal is on-target, the change may have been implemented because Ciena is having trouble getting its products fully certified by customers, creating sales-completion delays.

Whatever the reason, Ciena plans to cut between 120 and 140 jobs in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) regions’ global field and global supply chain units.

“These actions are part of a restructuring plan to reduce operating expense, and better align Ciena’s workforce and operating costs with market and business opportunities in EMEA following the completion of Ciena’s acquisition of … Nortel’s Metro Ethernet Networks business,” Ciena told the SEC.

Ciena said the layoffs should be done by Aug. 31. And because of all the legal wrangling involved, the company can’t yet estimate how much the severance and restructuring all will cost.

Ciena won Nortel’s Ethernet unit last year in a fierce auction against Nokia Siemens Networks. Ciena paid a total of $773.8 million for the properties, which ranked among Nortel’s most valuable and profitable.

Shares of Ciena closed down 1.68 percent at $17.01 on Thursday.


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