Ex-Nortel exec leads rescue bidder's advisory team

Private equity firm looking to counter Nokia Siemens bid for Nortel wireless assets

A private equity firm bidding for all of Nortel is reportedly assembling a management team for the company led by a former Nortel executive.

MaitlinPatterson Global Advisors of New York, which prepared a bid last week for the bankrupt company, has put together a management team comprised of telecom veterans should Nortel accept its bid, FT.com is reporting. The team is led by Dion Joannou, former president of Nortel's North America operations, according to FT.com.

Other members of the team include Richard Burns, the former president of AT&T's wireless network; Richard Piasentin, a former group vice president of sales at Nortel; Tony Pirih, former head of Nortel's R&D operations; and Chris Smith, former executive vice president in charge of Alltel's network operations, the report states.

The FT.com report cited "people familiar with the negotiations" as its source.

MaitlinPatterson is looking to acquire, recapitalize and operate Nortel in whole rather than acquire or sell off pieces of the company. Nortel is liquidating its assets and has already received a $US650 million offer for its wireless operations from Nokia Siemens.

MaitlinPatterson is agreeable to working with Nokia Siemens and other "strategic partners" of Nortel to "leverage Nortel's resources...long into the future," the FT.com story states.

MatlinPatterson is expected to table a counteroffer for Nortel's wireless assets as part of its bid for the whole company, the article states. Nokia Siemens' "stalking horse" offer is expected to be considered next week before a court-mandated auction July 24.

MaitlinPatterson owns $US400 million, or 10 per cent, of Nortel's debt.

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