The fight to acquire the assets of bankrupt Nortel hasratcheted up several notches after the Canadian government confirmed it mighthave grounds to review last week's auction of the vendor's wireless units toEricsson.
Ericsson trumped the other players, Nokia Siemens Networksand VC group MatlinPatterson with a last minute bid of $1.13bn.
However the losing bidders are entitled to appeal, and amidfrantic lobbying from Research in Motion, which claims it was blocked from theauction, Canadian Industry Minister Tony Clement said this week that the governmentwas going to look into whether or not the Investment Canada Act applied to thesale.
The law requires that sales of Canadian firms valued at overCDN$312m - which the wireless sale clearly is - must be subject to review.
Clement told reporters that Ottawa would wait until the 21-day appealperiod is up before pressing ahead with any review.
Meanwhile, Siemens Enterprise Networks (SEN), the jointventure between Siemens and Gores, which also owns Enterasys, has emerged as arival bidder to Avaya, which last week put nearly $500m on the table in anattempt to secure the assets of Nortel's enterprise unit.
Citing the same objections to those raised against NokiaSiemens' wireless bid, Siemens Enterprise Networks claims the agreement betweenNortel and Avaya is unfair as the terms of a stalking horse deal skew the dealin favour of the original bidder. MatlinPatterson has also weighed in on theenterprise sale.
Siemens EnterpriseNetworks - which has set up a venture to be known as Enterprise NetworksHoldings (ENH) for the purposes of the auction - apparently does not object toNokia Siemens having received the same favours as Avaya.
Neither ENH nor MatlinPatterson have yet gone public withtheir own bids.
The auction of the enterprise business is scheduled to takeplace on 11 September.