Nortel Networks Corp filed for bankruptcy protection today in federal court in Delaware, the first major tech company to seek protection since the global downturn started. Nortel, North America's biggest maker of telecommunications equipment, filed a day before the company was due to repay a $107 million interest debt on bonds.
The company has been reeling from a sharp drop in orders from phone company clients. The Toronto Stock Exchange has halted trading of Nortel's shares, which once traded at more than $1,200 Canadian a share on a pre-split basis during the tech bubble, but closed yesterday at 38.5 Canadian cents a share. Nortel stock was down 30% in pre-market trading.