Private equity groups eye Motorola, Nortel assets

Private equity firms are looking at certain assets at both Motorola and Nortel Networks, in a move that could potentially combine parts of the two struggling companies into a new venture, according to a report in the Financial Times.

Advent International is considering purchasing Motorola's handset business and merging it with some of Nortel's assets to form a new group, according to the report, which cited unnamed sources close to the discussions. Advent is looking for other investors to join a consortium of potential buyers.

Additionally, the private equity firm CVC was approached to participate in a potential bid for the assets, but declined to take part. Advent, CVC, Motorola and Nortel all declined to comment.

Nortel, which filed for bankruptcy protection in mid-January, has reportedly been speaking with potential buyers for its wireless and enterprise telecom businesses. One of the potential buyers for its wireless business is said to be rival Nokia Siemens Networks. Motorola has repeatedly said that it will not spin off its mobile devices division, as it had previously planned to do. Motorola co-CEO Greg Brown told the FT in a recent interview that it would not shutter the division, and in fact, was looking for a turnaround to begin in the second quarter.         

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