Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Nortel Networks Screwed, Again

When people talk about the biggest corporate disasters of all time, the same names come up: WorldComm, Enron, and Nortel Networks.

Unlike the former companies, Nortel has been hanging in for years, like some sort of slow-motion train wreck, bouncing from major crisis to minor, and never regaining it's lost status as the darling of Canadian hi-tech companies.

Telecom equipment giant Nortel Networks Corp. (TSX:NT) and several of its units have filed for bankruptcy protection from creditors, a victim of the global credit crunch that has devastated the Canadian company's markets.
Once the kingpin of Canadian technology and one of this country's most widely held stocks, Nortel and several of its units filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States and were set to do the same thing in Canada under the federal bankruptcy protection law.
The high-tech company has faced a variety of troubles since the telecom bubble burst eight years ago, including accounting problems that devastated its stock and led to criminal charges against former executives and most recently the sharp slump in the economy.

This seems like a good time to dredge up an old joke that's been trotted out via email every time Nortel has been on the ropes (figures are unaudited):

If you had bought $1000.00 worth of Nortel stock one year ago, it would now be worth $49.00.
With Enron, you would have $16.50 of the original $1,000.00.
With WorldCom, you would have less than $5.00 left.
If you had bought $1,000.00 worth of Budweiser (the beer, not the stock) one year ago, drank all the beer, then turned in the cans for the 10 cent deposit, you would have $214.00.
Based on the above, our current investment advice is to drink heavily and recycle.

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