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Ciena buys Nortel business units

Mon, 11/23/2009 - 4:19am

TORONTO – Ciena Corp. and Nortel Networks Corp. said Monday that Nortel has sold its global optical networking and carrier ethernet businesses to Ciena for $769 in cash and debt.

Nortel, a maker of telecom equipment in bankruptcy, said Ciena prevailed in an auction and will pay $530 million in cash and $239 million in convertible notes due June 2017.

Ciena's purchase includes all products, contracts, patent and intellectual property, including the rights to technology that boosts the speed and capacity of fiber optic networks by as much as10-fold.

Nortel's optical networking business includes some of Nortel's most sought-after businesses units, intellectual properties and employees.

The deal is targeted to close in the first quarter, pending court approvals in the U.S., Canada, France and Israel. It has received regulatory approval in the U.S. and Canada.

Ciena is expected to hire at least 2,000 Nortel employees — or more than 85 percent of the workers in the businesses being sold. It would nearly double Ciena's workforce.

Nortel, which once accounted for one-third of the market value on the entire Toronto Stock Exchange, filed for bankruptcy protection in Canada and the U.S. in January.

The company, based in Toronto, has since been selling off its operations.

Earlier this month, Nortel completed the sale of its wireless network business to LM Ericsson of Sweden for $1.13 billion. In September, it announced the sale of its enterprise solutions business to Avaya for $900 million.

Ciena, based in Linthicum, Md., won court approval in October to bid on Nortel's units.

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