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Local Tech Wire

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Privately held Avaya is likely to face a rival bidder in the form of on Friday as an auction for bankrupt Nortel’s enterprise business unit begins.

The Financial Times reported Thursday that the Siemens group, which is a joint venture between Siemens and private equity firm Gores Group, for the bankruptcy court approved action.

has already won approval as the “stalking horse” bidder, which gives it rights to top other bids. Avaya has offered $475 million.

has already confirmed that more than one bid was received. The Siemens-Gore (SEN) bid was first reported last week by Mark Evans, a frequent Local Tech Wire contributor, in a blog he writes about Nortel.

SEN could have other advantages beyond a possibly higher cash offer, the Financial Times added.

“Some people close to the situation have suggested that SEN might have an edge in the sale since there are unlikely to be antitrust issues,” the newspaper said. “If Avaya won the auction, an antitrust probe could delay a closing of the deal by up to one year. SEN would also pledge to keep the headquarters of the combined group in Canada to soothe political objections.”

According to British newspaper, bidding could top $600 million.

Nortel declared bankruptcy earlier this year and has already sold parts of its operation, including wireless.

The enterprise business unit generates more than $2 billion in annual revenues.

Sale of the enterprise group would affect some members of Nortel’s remaining work force of about 1,800 people in RTP.