Report: Nokia Siemens offers to buy Nortel's businesses

Nokia Siemens Networks offered to buy large chunks of Nortel Networks' businesses, including most of its carrier networks unit and a research unit developing future wireless technologies, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Additionally, an auction last week of Nortel's enterprise telecom business attracted bids from Avaya and Siemens Enterprise Communications. The moves show Nortel may indeed break itself up rather than trying to emerge from bankruptcy protection as a single entity. Nortel has until May to restructure.

Nokia Siemens reportedly made an unsolicited offer for Nortel's carrier networks business, including its CDMA group, which produced most of Nortel's operating profit. Nokia Siemens could be trying to muscle into the North American market, where Nortel had a significant presence until its struggles began. Nokia Siemens also wants to acquire the Nortel unit focused on developing LTE technology.

A Nortel spokesman did not comment on the specific deals being discussed, but did tell the Journal that "planning is underway and we are pursuing opportunities that we believe will provide maximum benefit to our key stakeholders, including our creditors, customers and employees."

Nortel was recently granted the right to pay top executives $7.3 million in retention bonuses. The company posted a $2.14 billion loss in the fourth quarter and a $5.8 billion loss for all of 2008. Its revenue declined 15 percent year-over-year in the fourth quarter, to $2.72 billion.

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