The former telecom giant, which is currently working through bankruptcy proceedings, said Wednesday that it’s working toward a second-quarter closing for the sale of the telecom carrier technology business’s assets, which include its softswitching, gateways, session initiation protocol – or SIP – applications and time-division multiplexing products and services.
“Uniting our two businesses will create one of the industry’s strongest carrier VoIP players, in terms of market share, customer base and portfolio,” said Samih Elhage, president of the carrier business, in a statement. “Joining forces with GENBAND will allow us to continue to provide a highly reliable solution and service offering to service providers and enterprises across the globe.”
Mr. Elhage added that “a significant majority” of the division’s employees would be offered jobs at GENBAND. The company noted that group will include certain employees in some jurisdictions in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region that will transfer automatically to GENBAND by operation of law.
A company spokesperson noted in an e-mail that about 1,638 of the division's staff, or 78 per cent, will have the opportunity to continue working with GENBAND, although the latter won't be able to extend offers until it's received court approval for the deal.
The business employs approximately 2,100 people in total, with 80 per cent of that number located in North America. Thirty per cent of the North American staff are in Canada, the company said in an earlier interview with OBJ.
GENBAND, which has teamed up with private equity firm One Equity Partners and other existing shareholders to secure the carrier division’s assets, had initially offered US$282 million. However, Nortel has agreed to make balance sheet and other adjustments to reduce the purchase price by US$100 million.
Nortel first announced in December that GENBAND had put in a bid that was supposed to kick off a competitive bidding process, culminating in an auction that would have started on Thursday.
At the time, Mr. Elhage told OBJ that the sale would represent one of the final steps in its insolvency proceedings.
The Toronto-based company had sold off a number of its businesses through the auction process, including its wireless division, enterprise unit and optical business.
However, company spokesperson Jamie Moody said Nortel chose not to go with the auction route for the carrier business as it didn't receive any other qualified bids, despite interest from other parties.
When asked if Mr. Elhage would continue on at GENBAND following the completion of the deal, Ms. Moody reiterated the fact that GENBAND isn't allowed to enter into discussions or extend offers to any employees until the transaction is finalized.
The sale will now await U.S. and Canadian court approvals at a joint hearing on March 3.