Telecommunications gear maker Nortel is in talks with Motorola to form a joint venture focused on wireless infrastructure, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.
If such a unit is formed it would have revenues of about $10 billion, the newspaper said. It cited as sources people who were familiar with the talks.
Nortel (NYSE: NT) , which employs more than 2,000 people at its campus in RTP, is led by Mike Zafirovski, a longtime executive at Motorola. Zafirovski took over as CEO at Nortel in November 2005 after losing out in Motorola’s search for a new CEO.
Both Motorola (NYSE: MOT) and Nortel have taken a battering on Wall Street lately. Nortel’s shares closed Friday at $11.07. Its 52-week low is $10.85, down from a high of $31.79 after Nortel executed a reverse stock offering to combine shares.
Motorola shares closed at $11.26 on Friday. Its 52-week high is $19.90, its low $9.43.
Neither Nortel nor Motorola representatives would comment on the report, according to Bloomberg news.
Motorola’s Greg brown, who has been under pressure from billionaire investor and stock holder Carl Ichan to break up the company, Bloomberg reported. Brown took the CEO job in January.
The deal reported by The Journal would not include Motorola’s mobile handset division. The company said in January it would explore options for the handset group, including the possibility of selling it.
Nortel and Motorola could work together to produce network gear for wireless service providers.
The Journal reported that the Nortel-Motorola talks have been going on for several weeks. Unable to find a source of private equity to invest in the joint effort, the firms have discussed a structure that would make Nortel the majority owner, the paper added.
A joint venture would include Motorola’s “push-to-talk” technology used by Sprint Nextel.
Nortel’s proposed part of the joint venture represents a business that produced approximately one third of Nortel’s $7.75 billion in revenues through the first three quarters of 2007, The Journal added.
Nortel executives are attending the Mobile World Congress trade show in Madrid, Spain.