Ethernet equipment

Ciena's Looking Over Nortel's MEN

At long last, Nortel Networks Ltd. might get a bid for its Metro Ethernet Networks (MEN) business.

Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN) announced today that it's in "advanced talks" to place a bid for MEN. (See Ciena Considers Nortel MEN Bid.)

The announcement follows last month's speculation, from analyst George Notter of Jefferies & Company Inc. , that Ciena and a private equity group were both gunning for MEN. (See Ciena: Ready to Pay for Nortel's MEN?)

Investors don't seem thrilled. Ciena shares were down 37 cents (2.5%) at $14.29 after the announcement. Earlier in the day, shares had been up about 2 percent.

Among possible concerns: A MEN purchase would have to be made in cash, and Ciena only has $1.06 billion of it in the bank. Even though MEN revenues are down, they still measured $333 million during Nortel's second quarter -- a yearly run rate topping $1.3 billion.

Ciena wouldn't be a shocking buyer; in fact, it's long been considered a favorite among possible MEN buyers. (See The Ciena Theory, MEN Watchers, and Who's Waving Their Wad at Nortel’s MEN?)

It might be pointless to compare the prices of Nortel's various pieces. Still, we'll point out that Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) shelled out $1.13 billion for the wireless division after an initial $650 million bid from Nokia Networks . And Nortel's enterprise business sold for $900 million after Avaya Inc. started the bidding at $475 million. (See Ericsson Delivers Knockout Blow to NSN and Avaya's $900M Bid Wins Nortel Auction.)

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

inauniversefarfaraway 12/5/2012 | 3:55:01 PM
re: Ciena's Looking Over Nortel's MEN

Who could have forseen such an outcome? The folks that left Nortel to be acquired by Ciena after the failure of Catena are further acquiring MEN, yet another of Nortel's failures/rejects/assets/whatever.

It's going to be fun to watch who is going to be managing whom. What a madhouse that is going to be.

It would be interesting to make that whole saga into a soap opera.

inauniversefarfaraway 12/5/2012 | 3:54:59 PM
re: Ciena's Looking Over Nortel's MEN


You know buddy, there is some truth to your statement that only needs some tempering. Nortel has always been an organisation with lofty goals that were espoused by the real techies and spoiled by the idiots in management.This is the sharp contrast of Nortel.

Nortel is a monument to the promotion of the underachievers, the manipulators and the idiots not to mention the alleged criminals. Lest we also forget the failures. Nortel has left techies in the wilderness of depravity. The leadership at Nortel is bereft of any decency or humanity. These are beasts. Let's face it, as much as we laud the 100G whatever, we must also mention the capital failure of this organisation, the utter stupidity of anyone connected with "leadership" of this company in the recent past and present that have spoiled, cast away, defecated upon the heritage that is embodied by this institution. Over a hundred years of history bled dry, countless billions wasted. This is one of the priviledged companies upon which society lavished countless billions and yes, the best minds. This was no accident, no failure to forsee, no oversight. What is even more astounding is that nobody thinks there is anything "wrong" with the leadership, nothing that isn't ticking right as an organization. That is utterly bizarre. This isn't like misplacing your car keys here. Nortel is like a small country that has run amok, where there may be a few choice assets, but everything is mired in corruption. Worse, everybody in the place can't see anything wrong. In most banana republics, people know what is disfunctional, they can even utter it quite simply. Afghanistan, for example, cultivates opium since it's one of the few cash crops, the land is so arrid and broken by the geography, the only value in the land is it's strategic place in the world. If it were moved a few hundred kilometers away nobody would know it existed. The great powers give up because it's never worth the trouble, unless things are exploding. Nortel is worse, it can't be fixed because nobody thinks there is a problem. It's a candidate for Dr. Phil.

Nortel used to be a better place where it was possible to come up with great stuff. This was only in small pockets due to the pervasiveness of poor management. There are still small pockets here and there, no doubt. If one were able to separate the host from the cancer, there might be something there. If there are still pockets of good people in there, they must be praying for deliverance.

Don't be so thinned skinned Ozzman and neither should Nortel. If they can dish it out, they better be ready to take it. Hypothetically speaking, if someone were to go after your family, would you reciprocate with extreme prejudice or would you simply roll over and express that nothing was wrong? My guess is that you would do what every living thing does. Nortel better be ready to take some more or go quietly into the night. So far, it is going, going...

As for the rest of the human beings that walk away from this thing called Nortel, you just keep in mind that what goes around comes around. This is even true for such everlasting institutions as Nortel. Maybe if people would make an effort to repair their past deeds they wouldn't have to put up with a roasting... Fortunately, this is far too much to expect. For your benefit Ozzman, you can think of this as turning the other cheek.

ozzman 12/5/2012 | 3:54:59 PM
re: Ciena's Looking Over Nortel's MEN Jediboy,

The only thing I have seen you do at this point is to try to put down ANYTHING that Nortel has ever done... I guess that Nortel either kicked you out of the company or never considered your candidature...

I have to admit that Nortel's top management has been greedy since the divestiture from BCE in 1998 and has definitely lacked leadership but you should be looking much further than this to evaluate the capabilities of a company: the R&D innovation and "thinking out of the box" capabilities of Nortel hane always been second to none: this is why Nortel can come up with 40G and 100G solutions that can run on the existing fiber plant while the competition cannot do this with the same level of performance... Maybe this is why companies like Ciena are interested in buying a division like MEN...

Remember digital switching (DMS) in the 1980's? Everyone thought the Nortel (or NT at the time) was nuts to deliver such a technology... Well, they swept the digital voice switching market for quite a long time with such a technology... And there are many other examples...
bollocks187 12/5/2012 | 3:54:57 PM
re: Ciena's Looking Over Nortel's MEN

A plan that they should be considering is to spin out NORTEL divisions as there own entities instead of selling it off in pieces.

The fact is Nortel was once a great communications company and has some talented people at the lower ranks :-). they have for reasons that confuse many of us made soem bizzare sells over the last decade and got out of the business they should have focused on - access and transport.

Spin out the company with private investment banking and create another company. If Nortel HQ is simply shoppping for immediate cash then they are missing the long term piece of the networking puzzle.


Stevery 12/5/2012 | 3:54:56 PM
re: Ciena's Looking Over Nortel's MEN

A plan that they should be considering is to spin out NORTEL divisions as there own entities instead of selling it off in pieces.

I have to believe that was attempted.  And the result was that it doesn't solve the cash flow problem.

There is a purpose for bankruptcy:  Your cash flow does not meet your financial obligations.  Loan payments are one of those obligations.

It is also a huge slap to the people who were stupid to lend you the money in the first place.  (Unless you are a too-large-to-fail-bank, in which case the US Gov't rewards you with piles of new cash.)

inauniversefarfaraway 12/5/2012 | 3:54:56 PM
re: Ciena's Looking Over Nortel's MEN


Well, you know what they say about payback... They could have played nice, but no, the had to be jerks. Billions of bucks and jerks to boot, they got it coming.

Just imagine the level of incompetency, Nortel could have put some spare change in Y2K, say $20B in a sock or under a matress somewhere for this rainy day and not left all these nice people in the draft. What was $20B back then compared to the gazillions doled out for any one acquisition?

Today, they can't even be sold for the debt owed.

This would be the equivalent of your winning $100M at the lottery and not having enough to buy gum ten years later even after selling all your organs. Also, you were such a jerk with your winings, putting people's nose in it, what do you think they're gonna say when you're on the block?

This is some major lapse, talk about missing the boat.

Feeling better with each day, it's all gravy baby! Remember, according to some of these jerks, I shouldn't be around! Na! Na! Na! Na! He! Ho! Goodbye! ...

abashford 12/5/2012 | 3:54:56 PM
re: Ciena's Looking Over Nortel's MEN

Still angry huh 'inauniverse'?

I thought with all this venting you might finally start to feel better.  I guess 'Primal Therapy' doesn't work.  Too bad.

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