Rumor mill: Ericsson closing in on Nokia Siemens BSS unit

Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) is the front-runner to acquire Nokia Siemens Networks' Business Support Services (BSS) division, according to Dow Jones Newswires, which cited a person familiar with the matter.

Rumors began swirling last week about NSN's efforts to sell its BSS unit, which some have estimated might attract up to $377 million. Ericsson as well as Amdocs were mentioned then as likely buyers for the unit. France's Atos was reportedly interested initially but no longer is.

The process for selling the BSS unit is in its second round, and NSN is being advised by U.S. bank Jefferies Group, Dow Jones Newswires said, adding it had seen an internal memo that lists the systems support unit as one of several units NSN is seeking to offload.

NSN's BSS unit provides telecommunications carriers with services such as converged charging and billing, mediation and service brokering. The company's website says its BSS unit has more than 300 operator customers globally

In May, Gartner ranked Ericsson as the second top vendor worldwide in 2011 for operation and business support systems (OSS/BSS) and next generation service delivery platforms, moving the company up by two spots over its ranking a year earlier thanks to its January 2012 acquisition of Telcordia Technologies, for which Ericsson paid $1.15 billion. Leading Gartner's ranking was Accenture, while Amdocs came in fifth and NSN was ranked ninth.

At the time of Gartner's announcement, Per Borgklint, head of Ericsson's Support Solutions business, said, "We already have a leading position in key areas such as charging and billing, where we serve 1.7 billion people with our solutions."

Ericsson has enhanced its focus on OSS and BSS solutions as it believes the era of high-speed mobile broadband will be a technology catalyst leading operators to seek configurable OSS/BSS solutions.

NSN, the network-equipment venture of Nokia (NYSE:NOK) and Siemens, reported an operating loss of $278.3 million for 2012's second quarter. The vendor is undergoing a major restructuring to focus on mobile broadband and plans to have slashed up to 17,000 jobs by the end of 2013 to save $1.3 billion.

As part of its restructuring, NSN this year sold its microwave transport business to DragonWave, its fixed line broadband access business to Adtran and its WiMAX business to NewNet Communication Technologies.

For more:
- see this Dow Jones article
- see this Reuters article

Related articles:
Rumor mill: NSN selling Business Support Services unit
NSN sees Q2 sales drop 8%, continues with restructuring plan
Network infrastructure vendors face tough Q2, road ahead
Ericsson's Q2 profit drops 63% on weaker network sales
NSN: Rivals will also have to refocus, cut back
Ericsson scoops up OSS/BSS vendor Telcordia for $1.15B