Nokia Siemens confirms interest in Nortel assets

Nokia Siemens Networks confirmed that it may be interested in picking up parts of Nortel Networks should the bankrupt Canadian equipment maker decide to sell itself off in pieces rather than emerge from restructuring as a single entity.

Nokia Siemens COO Mika Vehvilainen said the company would not be interested in buying Nortel as a whole, but told reporters, "my understanding, also, is that Nortel is potentially breaking up, and if there are any opportunities there, who knows, we may consider it."

"We of course are always exploring opportunities, and the North American market is one of the markets where we'd like to be in a stronger position," he said.  Vehvilainen did not say what parts of Nortel the company would be interested in scooping up.

The Wall Street Journal reported in April that Nokia Siemens made an unsolicited offer for Nortel's carrier networks business, including its CDMA group, which produced most of Nortel's operating profit. Nokia Siemens was also reported to have expressed interest in the Nortel unit focused on developing LTE technology.

When Nortel reported its first quarter earnings last week, it was noncommittal about its plans regarding the sale of some of its operations, but Nortel CEO Mike Zafirovski said in a statement that "work is well underway to evaluate the ultimate path forward for our businesses."

"Discussions are taking place with various external parties, however, decisions have not been taken and we continue to evaluate our restructuring alternatives," he said. "To provide maximum flexibility, we are also taking the appropriate steps to complete the move to standalone businesses."

Nortel entered bankruptcy protection in mid-January and has until July 30 to restructure. It posted a $507 million net loss in the first quarter amid falling revenues.

For more:
- see this Dow Jones Newswires article

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