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Nortel to Shed Yet Another Business Unit

Bankrupt gearmaker Nortel has just inched closer to becoming a gearmaker no more. On Dec. 23, the company announced a preliminary agreement to sell a unit that makes software and gear for making cheap Web calls to telecom gearmaker Genband for $282 million, a sum that is subject to adjustment.

The agreement is not final: More companies could bid for the unit in an auction early next year. Nortel has already sold a number of other business units over the summer.

Once the sale of this unit, called carrier VoIP and application solutions, is complete, Nortel will be left with only a few holdings, including a unit that sells so-called multi-service switches, which direct traffic along communications networks. It also still owns the majority stake in the LG-Nortel joint venture, which has sold wireless telcommunications equipment to carriers in South Korea. And Nortel still owns as much as $2 billion worth of patents, which it might hold on to or sell separately. I suspect that Nortel will finish selling its assets in the first half of 2010.

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