Avaya agrees to buy Nortel enterprise unit

Nortel Networks Corp. Monday announced it has entered a "stalking horse" agreement in which Avaya Inc. of Basking Ridge, N.J. will buy its enterprise units for US475 million.

The move comes about a month after Nokia Siemens Networks entered into a similar agreement to buy Nortel's carrier wireless assets for US$650 million.

The agreement is subject to approval from U.S. bankruptcy court and the bankruptcy division of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. Other companies would have the option to propose higher bids. The deadline for competing bids was not immediately available.

Nortel has been operating under bankruptcy protection since January.

Avaya was spun off from Lucent Technologies Corp. in 2000 and makes unified communications and other telephony products for corporate and government users.

If Avaya buys the enterprise unit and Nokia Siemens Networks buys the carrier wireless assets, which include CDMA and LTE technologies, this would leave Nortel with its metro Ethernet unit, for which is it also searching for buyers.

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