Ciena is in advanced discussions to acquire Nortel's optical networking and carrier Ethernet businesses worldwide, both companies confirmed.

Nortel's Metro Ethernet Networks (MEN) is the latest asset to be sold by the networking giant. Nortel is liquidating assets after having failed to restructure the company under Chapter 11 bankruptcy as a viable telecom competitor.

To date, Nortel has sold its CDMA and LTE wireless assets to Ericsson for just over $1 billion; its Enterprise Solutions business to Avaya for just under $1 billion; and is also looking to sell its GSM wireless business.

Various analyst estimates peg the value of MEN between $500 million and $1 billion.

Nortel and Ciena say the outcome of their discussions is uncertain and subject to negotiation of definitive agreements. Any agreements would be subject to a competitive bidding process to be approved by the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and the Canadian Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act.