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Nortel could offload Metro Ethernet unit to Ciena

Ciena is in advanced discussions to acquire Nortel’s Metro Ethernet Networks (MEN) business unit, both companies confirmed.

MEN includes Nortel’s optical and Carrier Ethernet product portfolios. Nortel is liquidating assets after having failed to restructure the company under Chapter 11 bankruptcy as a viable telecom competitor.

To date, Nortel has sold its CDMA and LTE wireless assets to Ericsson for just over $1 billion; its Enterprise Solutions business to Avaya for just under $1 billion; and is also looking to sell its GSM wireless business.

Various analyst estimates peg the value of MEN between $500 million and $1 billion.

Nortel and Ciena say the outcome of their discussions is uncertain and subject to negotiation of definitive agreements. Any agreements would be subject to a competitive bidding process to be approved by the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and the Canadian Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act.

Nortel, Ciena talks are latest action in Nortel’s asset liquidation efforts

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