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Nokia's M & A Power Play

by: Mark Evans

In the ongoing soap opera “As the Nortel Turns”, yesterday was definitely intriguing as Nokia Siemens’ (NOK, SI) North American president Sue Spradley took to the stage to talk the talk about why Nokia Siemens should be seen as an upstanding suitor as it strives to complete the $650-million acquisition of Nortel’s (OTC:NRTLQ) CDMA wireless business and the LTE R&D unit.

First, Spradley said Nokia could raise its “stalking horse” bid if it is “a requirement in order to remain in the bid process. And we’ll do so,” she said during a speech in Toronto.

Spradley said having to make a higher bid to purchase Nortel’s CDMA business will be worth it because it would make Nokia Siemens the #2 wireless network supplier in North America, head of Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC).

The second part of Spradley’s performance yesterday was her assertion that Nokia could buy some of Nortel’s other assets as they are put on block.

She said:

Right now our focus is on the CDMA and LTE (wireless networks) assets, we want to get that process through the gate. If other assets come on to the market, we will look at each one for their value and if there is something there, we will do a deal. But, it needs to have the right value for us and make sense given our customers.

Nokia’s dancing as fast as it can as it lobbies publicly to win support for its deal. At the same time, Spradley’s statement yesterday was a clear message to other potential bidders that Nokia is serious about getting the Nortel assets it wants.

Things, my friends, are getting a lot more interesting.

For more, check out the Financial Post and Reuters.