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Local Tech Wire

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – The news simply doesn’t get any better for Nortel or its work force, former employees and retirees.

Nortel’s remaining employees in its enterprise business unit, many of whom work in RTP, may not be going to work for rival Avaya any time soon. That’s because formal complaints have been filed with the U.S. Department of Justice about the forthcoming auction that so far is topped by a bid from Avaya.

And Nortel retirees as well as those workers who were laid off and lost severance benefits may get even less of a share of proceeds from the company’s bankruptcy sell-off due to a $3 billion claim filed by the IRS against Nortel this week.

Dow Jones Newswires reported Thursday afternoon that the auction for the enterprise business unit could encounter delays. Avaya has already received court approval for its “stalking horse” bid of $475 million for the enterprise group. The deadline for bids is Sept. 4. As a stalking horse, Avaya can top other bids in the auction.

According to Dow Jones, at least one telecommunications equipment reseller is concerned that a combination of Avaya with Nortel would create a “duopoly” with Cisco and limit competition.

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Meanwhile, the Ottawa Citizen is reporting that the IRS filed a $3 billion claim for back taxes, interest and penalties this week. The deadline for filing claims against Nortel is Sept. 30.

The newspaper called the claim “a huge curve ball” for Nortel creditors, including retirees and workers seeking severance.

If the IRS claim is allowed, it could reduce creditors’ claims to 40 cents on a dollar from an expected 50 cents, the newspaper said.

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