End of an era as Nortel shares delisted from TSX
Nortel Networks's final demise as a stock market darling came quietly Friday when the former tech giant was delisted from the Toronto Stock Exchange on a permanent basis.
The final price: 18.5 cents per common share.
Compare that to 2000, when Nortel dominated Canada's benchmark stock market with a share price of $124.50 and was valued at $400 billion, with 95,000 employees around the world.
The TSX had announced the delisting earlier in the week in a news release simply titled "Changes in Stock List." Nortel shares were suspended from trading all of last week and last changed hands on the TSX on June 19.
Business observers worried that Nortel's demise leaves a gap in Canadian research and development, apart from the concern of losing such a longstanding business icon.
Tyler Chamberlin, an assistant professor who researches the technology industry at the University of Ottawa's management school, called the end of Nortel's slow stock-market fall "a very, very sad day for just about everybody in and around this company."
Nortel peaked under the hand of CEO John Roth, who dramatically restructured the company, turning it from a telephone technology firm to a builder of the internet.
The tech darling's demise started in October 2000, after global sales began sliding. The situation was further complicated by an accounting scandal that saw the exit of CEO Frank Dunn in April 2004 .
Shares of Nortel were suspended last week in the wake of the Ottawa-based company's court-supervised restructuring, which includes selling part of its wireless-network business to Nokia Siemens for $650 million US.
Many business analysts agree that selling off the company's most valuable asset — the wireless business — substantially reduces any chance of a serious restructuring.
"When you sell off the crown jewels,... you know that the game is over," said Ian Lee, an assistant professor at Carleton University's business school.
Nortel is also in talks to sell other parts of its business.