Mortel or Notorola - or Something Else?

Is it just me, or are you finding interesting parallels with the World Cup and the urge to merge going on with the big telecom vendors? So much history with some of these national matchups - when you get Poland playing Germany - in Germany - it's hard to just think about this just being a soccer match.

So, we get the news yesterday about Nokia and Siemens. In telecom terms, it's probably a good deal, but I'm just having a hard time in my head with the idea of a Finnish company hooking up with a German company. Then there's Lucent and Alcatel. Aside from their corporate colors clashing horribly - orange and red - it's not hard to find Americans these days who would be uncomfortable with the idea of joining forces with the French. I'm being very simplistic here, of course, but the World Cup is such a wonderful event, and reminds us that when there's a common passion or interest - whether it be soccer or business - you have to live in the present and work around current realities.

That brings us to Nortel. Predictably, the market is focusing on them now, worried that when the music stops, there won't be any dance partners left. It's starting to get expensive for Nortel decide whether it can make it alone, as their valuation dropped a billion dollars yesterday on the sell-off. I'm not a financial analyst, but if the market is that worried about Nortel's prospects, they can't sit idle - or quiet - too long. All fingers point to Motorola as the best suitor, hence the title of this posting. That's a topic unto itself, but I'm not close enough to Moto to add much to the conversation.

Geographically, the move would fit the storyline I'm weaving here - an American company taking on a Canadian company. We've sure seen that one a few times before, and is achingly familiar to Canadians who have this patten ingrained into their psyche. Wasn't that long ago, of course, when the reverse was true. When Nortel was flying high, they were the ones doing the buying, taking on Americans, or anyone else they felt would help their growth.

Am not seeing anyone talking much about Cisco, with their open door for Nortel, but I suspect Cisco likes their growth prospects they way they are now - unless the price is right. I have long felt that Huawei was the one for Nortel, and it was looking that way earlier in the year when they announced a partnership for broadband equipment. That barely lasted 4 months, with the breakup news coming earlier this month. So, I don't know what to think any more.

Geez, we can't even keep the Stanley Cup in Canada, so wherever Nortel ends up, it really won't be much of a surprise. On that note, I just can't help mention the irony connecting my Nortel story to the Cup. The Carolina Hurricanes are based in Raleigh, which is home to a major Nortel facility in RTP, and their arena is named the RBC Center - Royal Bank of Canada - our largest bank, eh!

So, an American team may have won the Cup, but we still have some tenous connections to bask in the Canes's glory. Of course, most of the players are Canadian, but that's a given - more or less. Hockey is becoming a global sport, just like soccer, and we all know how much players from outside North America are contributing to the game. Like how I tied all those threads together? Is there a takeaway in here for Nortel? Probably this - think like the NHL or FIFA - the world's a big stage, and it pays to be big, but it doesn't really matter where you're from.