Nokia Siemens: Hot for Nortel's MEN?

On the day that Nokia Networks announced it was hunting for acquisitions, news emerged that the Finnish-German vendor is mulling a bid for Nortel Networks Ltd. 's Metro Ethernet Networks (MEN) business, according to this Bloomberg report. (See Nokia Siemens Revamps, Cuts Jobs.)

Having tried and failed to win Nortel's wireless business, Nokia Siemens looks as if it could try to pull an "Ericsson" on Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN) by out-bidding Ciena's stalking horse bid of $521 million for MEN. Nokia Siemens was the stalking horse bidder for Nortel's CDMA business and Long Term Evolution (LTE) assets, but was dramatically outbid by Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) in the auction. (See ITU: Ciena Bids $521M for Nortel's MEN and Ericsson Delivers Knockout Blow to NSN.)

It is not surprising that Nokia Siemens is reportedly looking to get a slice of Nortel's optical and metro Ethernet business: It has been included in the list of potential bidders by analysts and Light Reading. The company was eager to acquire the Canadian vendor's wireless assets because it would have significantly boosted its presence in North America. That situation has not changed, and there is perhaps even more urgency for NSN to win some of Nortel's customer base as it now watches its rival Ericsson bulk up in the region with the addition of Nortel's wireless business. (See Who's Waving Their Wad at Nortel’s MEN?, How NSN Is Funding Its Nortel Bid, and NSN Picks at Nortel's Mobile Bones , and MEN Watchers.)

And Nokia Siemens most likely won't be the only other bidder for the business, according to one analyst. Soleil Securities Group Inc. analyst Michael Genovese has said that Ericsson, Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), and Infinera Corp. (Nasdaq: INFN) have been looking as well. (See ITU: Ciena Bids $521M for Nortel's MEN, Smith: Why Ciena Wants to Reign Over MEN , Ciena/Nortel: Oh Yes, There's Overlap, Ciena's Looking Over Nortel's MEN, and The Ciena Theory.)

And Nokia Siemens may have already called its shot. Yesterday, the company said it will seek out acquisitions that "enhance the scale of existing product and service business lines and that deepen relationships with key customers," as it announced a major corporate restructuring and plans to lay off up to nearly 6,000 employees. (See Nokia Siemens Revamps, Cuts Jobs.)

The deadline to submit bids for the MEN auction is Monday, Nov. 9, and the auction is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 13. (See Nortel's MEN Auction Set for Nov. 13 and Ciena Narrows It Down.)

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Unstrung

rahat.hussain 12/5/2012 | 3:53:01 PM
re: Nokia Siemens: Hot for Nortel's MEN?

i am not an optical transport system expert, but i am going to postulate a new theory for this hoopla surrounding nortel's men unit. and it's called the GIG theory.

from what i know, all these potential acquirers seem to have very strong products of their own. ciena's 4200, nsn's l-h line, csco's 454, and infinera's platform (gosh, they even have some cool technology of their own) - really good products that win some bids, lose some bids.

why then would any of these players shell out close to a billion $ to acquire a dying revenue stream?

ok, the much touted 100g technology is a magnet - but is that worth a billion bucks? is it possible that if nortel's men were just allowed to die, each of these players could  win a few more bids? or is this the new vz, at&t mandate that they will reduce the number of vendors and acquiring nt's men is a sure-fire way to get on that list?

so, the GIG theory is not about the 100g technology - it is about the mental frame of leaders at all these companies. certain things are not going well for each one of them (nsn's recently announced problems, ciena's lack of investment in 4200, infinera being a one-trick pony, csco's lack of being #1 or #2 in the space, or whatever the real stories behind their self-perceived woes) and instead of accepting that the optical transport market will remain fragmented and difficult (i.e., every bid will be a hard-fought battle), the leaders at this outfits think that the Grass Is Greener - if only i could have that nortel portfolio under my belt, i could turn this business around, i could get on that much-vaunted at&t list, i could re-use the 100g technology in my other products, etc.

i feel that even after this bidding war is over, the market will remain the same, the acquiring party will face the uphill task of integrating a large nt team, and then trying to make the supposed business case numbers, while those who did not win the bid can focus on winning more business!

oy vey, as they say in my neighborhood, wake up people, there is no silver bullet in the optical marketplace!

odo <-- who feels nt men should become a component company and sell 100g technology to all comers.

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