2009 Year in review: Nortel sells out

Nortel's presence as a major force in the telecom industry will soon be no more than a fading memory as the company continues to wrap up a bargain basement sale of its key assets. The company's road to liquidation started not long after the company decided to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. But instead of trying to right the ship, former CEO Mike Zafirovski, who himself threw in the towel in August, decided to put the company's wireless and wireline assets up for sale. Despite attempts by even some former Nortel employees to buy and restore it to some former glory, the company has been conducting a bargain basement sale of four of its major operating segments: Metro Ethernet Networks/Optical, GSM, CDMA/LTE and Enterprise Solutions. And now, GENBAND made a $282 million "stalking horse" bid to acquire Nortel's Carrier VoIP and Applications Services (CVAS) unit.

In the process of selling these units, there was no shortage of drama as vendors competed for some of the pie. After a bidding war with Nokia Siemens Networks--a company that continues to struggle with gaining a North American presence--Ericsson finally won Nortel's hand not only for its CDMA/LTE assets, but also for GSM. The battle for Nortel's MEN division was filled with similar drama. Not long after Ciena put its initial "stalking horse" bid for the assets in, Nokia Siemens Networks countered saying that Ciena lacked the ability to properly operate the division. Once again NSN was outbid, this time by Ciena with its $769 million bid. The company now faces the challenge of integrating the division into its fold. While the buyers of these segments have maintained they'll do their best maintain these divisions, it's hard to see Nortel, once known as Northern Electric, a subsidiary of Bell Canada simply sell out.

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