ITU RumorWatch: Ericsson, NSN

9:00 AM -- GENEVA -- ITU Telecom World 2009 -- Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) and Nokia Networks may be absent from the show floor, but they're the subject of early gossip here in Geneva.

NSN, reckons one industry source, is seeking independence from its parent companies, and could soon be spun off as a separately listed firm. It currently reports its financials as part of Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK).

Why might this happen now? To give the vendor greater autonomy and decision-making power, believes the source. It's believed that NSN couldn't match rival Ericsson's bid in the fire sale of Nortel Networks Ltd. 's wireless assets because Nokia was unwilling to be saddled with the resulting debt on its balance sheet. Autonomy would enable NSN, which has a new CEO, to take its own risks and be solely responsible for its actions. (See Ericsson Delivers Knockout Blow to NSN, Nortel Auction: NSN Bid $1B+, and Nokia Siemens Replaces Its CEO.)

The timing might not be bad either, as M&A and IPO activity return to the global financial markets. NSN might need to report a few more encouraging quarters first, though. (See Slump Slams Nokia Siemens .)

And what of Ericsson? Word is that the Swedish giant is set to announce a global rebranding exercise that will give the company a new look and a visual shift away from the "old" mobile-centric Ericsson that didn't have a position in markets such as FTTH, IPTV, and IP routing. (See BBWF: Ericsson Enters AT&T's GPON Domain, Ericsson Measures Router Green, and Ericsson Takes On IPTV Giants.)

It's not believed Ericsson is going as far as altering its name, but the three blue stripes that currently accompany the firm's name look set to be dropped.

Get all the news from Geneva at our ITU Telecom World 2009 microsite.

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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