Nortel's Hidden Gem: Blade Network Technologies

| About: Nortel Networks (NRTLQ)
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With the Nortel (OTC:NRTLQ) garage sale nearly complete, the last major assets on the table are the 50.1% stake in the Nortel-LG joint venture and the 3,000+ patent portfolio, which includes the much-coveted LTE patents.

There is, however, another valuable asset that has escaped the spotlight: Nortel’s minority stake in Blade Network Technologies, which makes data center networking products.

Nortel acquired the position in 2006 when it sold parts of its Blade Server Switch Business Unit to BLADE in return for equity in the newly-formed company. The assets contributed by Nortel included intellectual property and customer contracts.

Over the past four years, BLADE it had enjoyed significant success. In 2009, it posted record-high shipments of $79-million and enjoyed double-digit growth. Last August, it closed a series B financing round that valued the company at $240 million. In 2010, BLADE expects to have shipments of more than $100-million.

BLADE lists Nortel as an investors but states that:

We have no supply or other relationships with Nortel. The hardware designs and software for our products are our own intellectual property. Currently, a few of our products use the Nortel brand, with permission, but they are entirely BLADE products.