Take Stock – November 25

Another piece of the former Nortel Networks Corp. empire hit the auction block Tuesday as the Global System for Mobile (GSM) business was offered to interested bidders.

Nortel puts GSM business on auction block after delay

Another piece of the former Nortel Networks Corp. empire hit the auction block Tuesday as the Global System for Mobile (GSM) business was offered to interested bidders. The delayed auction got underway Tuesday morning, but a winner had yet to be announced by the company in the early evening. The global GSM/GSM-R business includes patents predominantly used in the GSM business and granting of non-exclusive licenses of other relevant patents in an open auction. Nortel had planned to sell the division last week, but decided to bump the date to make room for its optical networking and carrier Ethernet units auction.

Ciena’s won the optical networking auction and will pay US$769 million for the division.

Agrium buys 24 Agriliance retail outlets

Fertilizer giant Agrium Inc. (TSX:AGU) said Tuesday it has expanded its retail operations in the southwestern United States with the acquisition of 24 retail outlets in Texas and New Mexico from Agriliance. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Agrium said it expects the stores to generate annual crop input revenues of about US$150 million. Included with the retail outlets bought from Agriliance are 18 farm centres and six satellites operations, their working capital and more than 50,000 tons of fertilizer storage.

Agrium president and CEO Mike Wilson said the deal is not an indication that the company is backing away from its pursuit of CF Industries Holdings Inc. (NYSE:CF). Agrium’s ambitions to take over Illinois-based CF hit an obstacle last week as the target company made significant headway in a hostile bid of its own.

All three of CF’s nominees were elected onto Terra Industries Inc.’s (NYSE:TRA) eight-member board of directors, increasing the odds that its US$4.1-billion bid will come to fruition.

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