Ericsson Bids for Nortel Wireless Assets
The Swedish giant confirmed Thursday morning that it is "going to participate in the auction for Nortel's CDMA and LTE access" assets, and confirmed it had submitted an initial pre-auction bid by the end-of-Tuesday deadline, but did not disclose any further details.
Canada's Globe and Mail published a report early today stating that Ericsson had offered $730 million for the Nortel assets, but an Ericsson spokesman described that figure as "a misunderstanding."
Ericsson is not disclosing how much it has bid, or what its maximum offer might be during Friday's auction.
Ericsson's planned involvement turns up the heat on the auction's existing participants.
Nokia Networks (NSN) and private equity firm MatlinPatterson Global Advisers (via its affiliate, MPAM Wireless) have already submitted advance bids for Nortel's CDMA and LTE (Long Term Evolution) assets, while BlackBerry is still believed to be looking for a way to participate, despite its complaints about the pre-auction bidding process. (See PE Firm Edges NSN's Nortel Bid, RIM Cries Foul Over Nortel Bidding Process, and NSN Picks at Nortel's Mobile Bones .)
NSN bid $650 million for the Nortel assets in late June, while MatlinPatterson's MPAM Wireless this week offered $725 million.
When asked if the Swedish giant's planned involvement was an attempt to spoil NSN's bid, the Ericsson spokesman said that was "speculation," and declined to comment further. (See The Spoilers of War.)
He told Light Reading: "We are always looking for the opportunity to create value for Ericsson. We will pursue this opportunity while it still makes commercial sense."
Nortel's decision to sell itself piece by piece has sparked a flurry of M&A activity and speculation that's set to run and run. (See VC Eyes Nortel, Avaya Offers $475M for Nortel's Enterprise, NSN May Buy Other Nortel Assets, Nortel Bid Plot Thickens, Will Others Bid for Nortel's Wireless Assets? , Who's Waving Their Wad at Nortel’s MEN?, and Who's Dialing In for Nortel's VoIP Assets? )
— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading