Nortel ( NRTLQ),
in bankruptcy since January , has received a $475 million stalking-horse bid for its office-phone making business. The offer comes from Avaya, a former public company taken private by two private equity firms two years ago. The offer has been rumored to be on the table for several weeks, which raises the question of whether the stalking horse is working well. The term refers, in this context at least, to a bid that's used to spark others and to provide a base-level for hoped-for future bids, thus preventing a fire sale. In June, Nortel reached a deal to sell its core wireless-networking unit for $650 million to a joint venture between Siemens ( SI) and Nokia ( NOK).