One Equity, Nokia Bid On Some Nortel Assets

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Nokia Siemens Networks and private equity firm One Equity Partners have jointly bid for Nortel Networks Corp’s optical networking and carrier ethernet business, a person familiar with the sale said on Wednesday, challenging Ciena Corp’s $526 million bid for the assets.

Last month, the bankrupt Canadian telecommunications equipment maker said that Ciena’s (CIEN.O) cash-and-stock bid would be the stalking horse offer for these assets.

The Ciena offer of $390 million in cash and 10 million in Ciena shares set a floor price for these assets and allowed Nortel to seek competing offers.

Nortel, once North America’s biggest telecoms equipment maker, filed for bankruptcy protection in January. It is selling off its assets rather than trying to restructure.

Offers for the ethernet business were due Nov 17 after Nortel delayed an initial deadline because of interest from other bidders.

It is unclear if another bidder also put in an offer to rival the one by Nokia Siemens and One Equity, which manages $8 billion for JPMorgan (JPM.N) in private equity investments.

Separately, Nortel said on Wednesday the final auction will be held on Nov 20.

Officials for Ciena and Nokia Siemens were not immediately available for comment. Officials for JPMorgan and Nortel declined to comment.

Shares of Ciena closed down 3 percent at $13.60 on the Nasdaq but rose 40 cents in after-hours trading.

(Reporting by Anupreeta Das; Editing by Carol Bishopric, Bernard Orr)