Former Nortel execs plan rescue mission

Some former Nortel executives, including former company president Robert Ferchat, are attempting a rescue effort for the bankrupt Canadian equipment maker that they hope will leave it more or less intact--and under Canadian auspices.

Ferchat and other former executives--including Ian Craig, who was Nortel's chief marketing officer in the late 1990s, and David Mann, who retired as vice president in 2001--are attempting to raise $1 billion from U.S. investment bankers to buy Nortel through bankruptcy courts. If the group of former executives can buy Nortel, they hope to have the company play a major role in building a national high-speed Internet network that will be financed by the Canadian government.

"This is a huge opportunity we're trying to scope out,'' Ferchat told the Ottowa Citizen. "This network would be several orders of magnitude faster than existing ones.''

If Ferchat's plan works, the new owners of Nortel would fire current Nortel CEO Mike Zafirovski and put in place a new management team.

Nortel entered bankruptcy protection in mid-January, and speculation has mounted that the company will be sold in parts. Nortel posted a $507 million net loss in the first quarter amid falling revenues.

For more:
- see this Ottowa Citizen article

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