NSN willing to pay more for Nortel unit

Nokia Siemens Networks is determined to secure the wireless unit of Nortel Networks and will raise its offer if required in the leadup to the unit’s auction next week.

Nokia Siemens Network’s North American president, Sue Spradley, said the company was willing to up the ante on its €466 million  (US$650-million) bid made in June. "That may be a requirement in order to remain in the bid process. And we'll do so," she told an Economic Club of Canada luncheon.

Spradley affirmed the vendor’s intentions to keep the Nortel’s 500 staff in Ottawa, Canada and plans to make the Ottowa centre, NSN’s global hub of LTE research.

“We're going to be adding more and more resources as we see the market grow,” she said. “I, more than anybody, would love to say that if Nortel could be saved, we all would've done that many years ago. Unfortunately this is a very difficult global environment,” said Spradley, a former Nortel executive, in a speech.

Countering the official NSN line on further acquisition activity, Spradley said the vendor was open to looking at other assets.

“If other assets come on to the market, we will look at each one for their value and if there is something there, we will do a deal,” she said, adding that she anticipates counter bids for Nortel's wireless assets before the July 21 deadline.

“We have a strategy and understanding that we may need to change our bid as required, but we want to be careful that in the end we meet the valuation of it (Nortel),” she said.

Under the original terms signed with Nortel, NSN has the right to trump any rival’s bid by paying an additional €3.6 million (US$5 million).  

So far, New York based private equity firm MatlinPatterson Global Advisers, which owns around 10% of Nortel's debt, is the only party to publicly come forward claiming it is preparing to bid against NSN.