Herbert Smith advises on Nortel administration

Herbert Smith has won another instruction on an administration with a Canadian element, advising Ernst & Young (E&Y) on the administration of the European businesses of Canadian telephone manufacturer Nortel Networks.

As reported on TheLawyer.com the firm also advised E&Y on the administration of oil exploration company Oilexco North Sea (19 January).

On Nortel, the firm was advising Nortel Networks UK in the run-up to being placed in administration and is now acting for E&Y’s Alan Bloom, Stephen Harris, Chris Hill and Alan Hudson, who have been appointed joint administrators of the UK business and 18 of the company’s Europe, the Middle East and Africa (Emea) entities.

The Herbert Smith team is being led by restructuring partner Stephen Gale and Laurence Elliott and includes corporate partners Gavin Davies and Alan Montgomery, pensions partner Roderick Morton and employment partner Andrew Taggart.

Nortel Networks, which is headquartered in Ontario and employs around 30,000 people globally, has been forced into restructuring after economic conditions made its capital structure unsustainable.

It has been reported that the annual cost of funding the company’s massive pension fund deficit had proved crippling.

The UK businesses was placed into administration after the company filed for bankruptcy protection in the US and Canada. The UK administration order also covers Nortel’s businesses in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden.

The Herbert Smith team is working with the firm’s local office in Paris and with alliance firm Gleiss Lutz in Germany. In the remaining jurisdictions the team is working with local firms.

Herbert Smith is working alongside E&Y on bringing Nortel’s businesses in Israel, Nigeria, Norway, Russia, South Africa, Switzerland and Ukraine into the administration process.

In the US Nortel turned to Cleary Gottleib Steen & Hamilton partner James Bromley for advice on its bankruptcy protection filing while in Canada Ogilvy Renault partner Derrick Tay advised the company.

Nortel, which is a major sponsor of the 2012 London Olympic Games, holds the patents to much of the original telephone technology invented by Alexander Graham Bell.

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