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Nortel taps two new deals, ups stake in old one

Mon, 04/09/2001 - 8:00pm
Anne Kerven

Nortel Networks Corp. has hit the pavement with some new networking. Of the people sort.

The cable equipment maker has partnered on projects with Agilent Technologies and PricewaterhouseCoopers, and it changed its deal with Antec Corp.

Nortel and Agilent plan to partner on a product that will make managing optical networks a little easier and more cost-effective, the two report.

The plan calls for combining Nortel's Networks Preside, part of Nortel's Smart Optical Network Solution software, and Agilent's accessFiber, a physical network management system of physical optical network planning, documentation and surveillance capabilities.

The result will let service providers determine when logical alarms are physical fiber problems, as well as their locations. Presently, providers send service technicians onsite to find the problem by testing multiple fiber runs, the two report.

In Nortel's cable venture with Antec Corp., Nortel will take a bigger stake in the deal — 49.3 percent instead of 46.5 percent — rather than the previously planned $325 million Antec expected to pay Nortel for its share in Arris Interactive LLC. The two companies created Arris in 1995. The cash was to come from Antec's $550 million financing effort last December, which fell through.

Nortel will transfer to the new company its existing membership interest in Arris for the stock. Nortel will own about 40.3 percent of the new company, with Antec stockholders owning the rest, Nortel reports in a statement. It will also convert $90 million in advances made to and payables and royalties due from Arris into a new membership interest in Arris upon closing. The deal should close in second quarter 2001.

Finally, Nortel and PricewaterhouseCoopers will develop, establish and promote a network of customer contact centers. The centers are designed to let businesses outsource some of their customer, vendor and other interactions, the companies report. The project uses Nortel's customer service and support technology with PWC's process expertise.

The centers are based on a central, integrated platform for Web and voice-enabled contacts, using Nortel's Clarify eFrontOffice for routing, integrating and consolidating the contacts; its Networks Periphonics IVR system; and its Symposium Call Center.

The first center will open in Tulsa, Okla., in November.

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