Nortel's ( NT) corporate networks division may be next on the chopping block, after the troubled telecom equipment manufacturer finally completed the sale its Alteon switch business to Israeli network specialist Radware ( RDWR). The Canadian firm may draw bids from Avaya and Siemens Enterprise Communications for its corporate networks business, according to Bloomberg, which cites two sources familiar with the matter. The division is said to be worth around $500 million, and Bloomberg reports that bids may be due later this week. Nortel, which filed for bankruptcy protection in January, is still working out its long-term strategy, although there has been plenty of speculation about its future. The company was typically tight-lipped when contacted by TheStreet.com about the possible sale of its enterprise business to Avaya or Siemens. "We have no comment on rumor and speculation," wrote Nortel spokesman Mohammed Nakhooda, in an email. "However, as we have said before, planning is underway to seek opportunities that provide maximum benefits to our key stakeholders, including our creditors, customers and employees." Avaya and Siemens have not yet responded to TheStreet.com's request for comment. Nortel is rumored to be carving off key assets, suggesting that the firm may break itself up rather than emerge from bankruptcy as initially planned. Ciena ( CIEN), for example, was recently rumored to be eyeing Nortel's metro Ethernet networks business and this is not the first time that Avaya and Siemens have been mentioned as possible acquirers of Nortel assets. The Toronto, Ontario-based firm had originally announced the sale of its metro Ethernet networks division in September, only to suspend the sell-off earlier this year.
Nortel filed for protection from creditors in a last-ditch attempt to get its house in order after a turbulent period characterized by falling sales, a financial scandal, and massive internal upheaval. The company was one of the top suppliers to the Internet building boom at the turn-of-the-century, but was later crushed after the bust when the industry was left with an oversupply of telcos and network capacity. In a statement released late Monday, Radware confirmed that it acquired Nortel's Alteon technology for $18 million. This includes the Canadian firm's application delivery products; certain related intellectual property assets, tangible assets, inventory and service contracts, as well as a number of Nortel employees. The Alton switches, which are used to relieve the strain on groups of servers, will now be sold under the Radware Alton brand, and the Israeli firm promised to continue investing in the technology.