PE Firm Edges NSN's Nortel Bid

It might not get as popular as TV poker, but the bidding process for Nortel Networks Ltd. assets just got a little more exciting.

This afternoon, private equity firm MatlinPatterson Global Advisers announced it's filed a $725 million bid for the CDMA and LTE assets of Nortel. That's certainly more than the $650 million that Nokia Networks initially offered. (See MatlinPatterson Submits Nortel Bid and NSN Picks at Nortel's Mobile Bones .)

The official auction doesn't take place until Friday, July 24, but bids were due today. NSN wasn't immediately available for comment.

This doesn't mean MatlinPatterson is abandoning the dream of reviving Nortel as a whole. (See Nortel: Think Big.)

MatlinPatterson's press release reads: "If we are successful in acquiring the CDMA and LTE Access assets, we will commit to achieving their full potential: we will look to partner with the existing Nortel management team and we will pursue opportunities to acquire additional Nortel assets as they become available during the Nortel Chapter 11 cases."

To do that, MatlinPatterson would have to compete in an auction for each successive chunk of Nortel -- including the enterprise division, where Avaya Inc. has emerged as the first formal bidder. (See Avaya Offers $475M for Nortel's Enterprise.)

Technically, NSN could add to its Nortel stockpile, too, if it wins -- although NSN is considered more a candidate to buy the Metro Ethernet Networks (MEN) division, not everything that's left. (See NSN May Buy Other Nortel Assets.)

Nortel's legal counsel will review the bids on July 24 and pick the winner -- but it's not over yet! The winning bid has to be submitted to the court as a suggestion, which, theoretically, the judge could reject. The date for that meeting with the judge is set for Tuesday, July 28.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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