Another group of Nortel Networks employees at Research Triangle Park has been extended a career lifeline.
Genband, a technology company based in Texas, is offering $282 million to buy Nortel's Carrier VoIP and Application Solutions unit. As part of the offer, Genband said it would expand its operation in North Carolina and in Canada, where Nortel is headquartered.
The unit, also known as CVAS, has 2,200 workers globally and 1,100 in the United States. Nortel spokeswoman Jamie Moody said the company doesn't provide staffing details by region so it's unclear how many local workers could end up working for Genband.
"We expect to make employment offers to a significant majority of Nortel CVAS employes," Genband CEO Charles Vogt said in a statement.
Nortel workers have avoided numerous rounds of layoffs in recent years and many of those who remain hope to hang on to their jobs by working for a division that's bought by a competitor. Nortel's RTP site employed as many as 10,000 people about a decade ago but it has been pared down to about 1,250 today.
Genband specializes in Internet Protocol equipment that's used to transmit phone calls, e-mails and other digital data. Nortel's CVAS specializes in VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, a technology that transmits phone calls over e-mail networks rather than over dedicated phone lines.
Nortel, which provides equipment and networks for phone companies and other customers, declared bankruptcy in January and is selling itself off in pieces to the highest bidders. To qualify as the winning bid, Genband's opening bid will have to withstand competing offers in the coming weeks.
Last week, 230 Nortel workers at RTP became part of Avaya, a New Jersey telecommunications equipment maker when that company closed on Nortel's Enterprise Solutions unit that provides data and network services for corporate and government clients.