Ericsson confident of Nortel approval

LM Ericsson is “pretty confident” the Canadian government will approve a US$1.13-billion deal to buy insolvent Nortel Network’s wireless business, the Swedish wireless giant’s incoming chief executive said Monday.

Nortel Networks President and CEO Mike Zafirovski stands in the shadows. Nortel Networks says Ericsson has won the auction for the insolvent firm's wireless divison

TORONTO — LM Ericsson is “pretty confident” the Canadian government will approve a US$1.13-billion deal to buy insolvent Nortel Network’s wireless business, the Swedish wireless giant’s incoming chief executive said Monday.

Ericsson respects the process to acquire Nortel’s assets and has followed the necessary rules, chief financial officer Hans Vestberg said in a conference call.

“Of course there are some regulatory issues still left to be defined, however, as we can see it right now … we feel confident that this will go through,” said Vestberg, who will become Ericsson’s president and CEO on Jan. 1, 2010.

The deal covers Nortel’s older CDMA technology, as well as the newer long-term evolution, or LTE, wireless businesses of the insolvent Canadian company’s Carrier Networks unit.

The transaction is subject to approval by bankruptcy courts in Canada and the United States on Tuesday and government regulatory authorities in both countries.

Industry Minister Tony Clement said Monday he’s “not in a position to prejudge the issue,” but he hasn’t ruled out intervening in the sale of Nortel.

There is a national security test that the deal will have to pass before it proceeds, and the government will consider all of the facts, he said.

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