The carve-up of Nortel ( NT) is gathering pace, according to news reports, which say that the troubled telecom equipment maker has received a bid from Nokia Siemens Networks for its lucrative carrier networks group and a wireless research unit. Nokia Siemens Networks, which is a joint venture between Finnish tech giant Nokia ( NOK) and Siemens ( SI), made the bid last month, according to The Wall Street Journal, which cited people familiar with the matter. The Toronto, Ontario-based firm has also reportedly received bids from Avaya and Siemens Enterprise Communications for its enterprise division. Nortel refused to comment on the report, which is the latest hint that the struggling firm may end up in pieces. Avaya and Nortel Siemens Networks also declined to comment. Siemens Enterprise Communications has not yet responded to a request for comment from TheStreet.com. Rumors that Nortel is carving off key assets have been circulating for months, suggesting that the firm may break itself up rather than emerge from bankruptcy as initially planned. Nortel has already sold its Alteon switch technology to Israeli networking firm Radware ( RDWR), and Ciena ( CIEN) is said to be eyeing the firm's metro Ethernet networks business, although refused to comment on the acquisition rumor. Nortel recently appointed restructuring expert David Richardson to its board of directors, a clear sign that the firm's metamorphosis is gathering pace. Richardson was previously Canadian national managing partner of Ernst & Young's corporate finance practice and served as senior partner in the firm's corporate recovery and restructuring practice. 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 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.