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Nortel to sell enterprise arm to Avaya for $915m

15 сентября 2009

Nortel announced it has agreed to sell its Enterprise Solutions business to Avaya for $900 million in cash, plus an additional $15 million reserved for an employee retention program.

The U.S. business networks and services provider fended off a rival bid, which unconfirmed reports suggest came from Siemens Enterprise Communications, in an auction that took place late last week.

As well as its global Enterprise Solutions business, the deal will also see Avaya acquire Nortel's government solutions arm, and its VoIP technology unit DiamondWare.

"Today's announcement removes another layer of uncertainty for our customers," said Joel Hackney, president of Nortel Enterprise Solutions.

He commented during a conference call that the deal provides Nortel customers with "investment protection and a clear path forward," adding that customer retention is a critical part of the company's strategy.

Nortel in July reached a stalking horse agreement with Avaya to sell the enterprise business for $475 million.

"It was a long [sale] process and one that almost doubled the purchase price," said Hackney.

He explained that one of the benefits of Avaya making a stalking horse offer was that both companies could begin planning the integration plan prior to the deal's closure.

"Avaya being the stalking horse and winning helps us to embark on that integration plan," he said.

He confirmed that two bidders participated in the auction, but declined to comment on whether the other bidder was Siemens Enterprise.

The sale of the business is subject to court approval in the U.S., Canada, France and Israel, as well as regulatory approval.

"We expect court approval on September 15, and we expect a close to occur late this year," said Hackney.

However, Verizon last week moved to block the sale after filing a complaint with a U.S. bankruptcy court claiming the deal would leave some of its military, law enforcement, government and healthcare customers without network support.

"We do not expect the Verizon interactions to in any way impact the court approval or close of this deal," said Hackney.

"We're confident in the process we've followed and we will continue to support our customers," he said.

Meanwhile smaller rivals in late August asked the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) to block the deal on the grounds that it would negatively impact competition in the business telecoms sector.

"Obviously we have done a lot of homework... and we do think [closing the deal] is realistic and achievable," said Hackney.

Avaya has reserved $15 million for an employee retention programme.

"It was rumoured that there would be an overlap between the two companies, [but] Avaya agreed to take a minimum of 75% of Nortel's workforce at the time of close, and I stress that it's a minimum of 75%," said Hackney.

He said the full details of the retention programme are yet to be finalised, but insisted that it applies to staff at all levels.


Источник: Total Telecom

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