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When I first learned that Nortel Networks (NT) has sought bankruptcy protection yesterday morning via @MarketWatch on Twitter (you can follow me on Twitter), I wasn’t really surprised (OK, a little bit). Wasn’t it just a month ago when reports came out that the company was seeking legal advices for a possible filing?

Though NT later denied such an activity, I suspect the speculation never went away. After all, the company has been in a terrible shape since the dot com and telecom collapse early this decade. Though the company has tried desperately almost everything to make a comeback, it has never returned to what it was 9 years ago and the stock kept trading lower and lower amid management scandals and slumping sales.

I had a bitter history with NT, not with the company itself, but with its stocks. After graduation, I worked for NT’s main competitor, Lucent, briefly, and after seeing LU and NT dropped into the penny stock category in 2002, I started to buy those stocks. In fact NT was the very first stock I ever bought. In more than five years, I repeatedly bought and sold the stock and I did make a few bucks in the early days. Unfortunately, all the money I made early was lost later as I naively hoped the company could be turned around. I eventually gave up and unloaded all my NT shares last year, taking a deep loss.

Here’s my trading history of NT:

  • 09/22/2002: Bought 2000 shares @ $0.47;
  • 10/14/2002: Sold 2000 shares @ $0.55;
  • 10/15/2002: Bought 2000 shares @ $0.60;
  • 10/21/2002: Sold 2000 shares @ $0.77;
  • 11/19/2002: Bought 2000 shares @ $1.40;
  • 12/04/2002: Sold 2000 shares @ $2.02;
  • 12/10/2002: Bought 2000 shares @ $1.69;
  • 11/21/2003: Sold 2000 shares @ $4.08;
  • 01/21/2004: Bought 1000 shares @ $6.67;
  • 05/06/2004: Bought 1000 shares @ $3.95;
  • 10/27/2004: Bought 400 shares @ $3.27;
  • 08/07/2006: Bought 320 shares @ $1.99;
  • 01/16/2007: Sold 72 shares @ $27.22 (NT conducted a 10:1 reverse split in December 2006);
  • 03/18/2008: Sold 200 shares @ $6.23

Now that Nortel has avoided “a slow death” by filing for bankruptcy protection, can it emerge as a different company later?

Disclosure: None