Somebody check the calendar. Are we really just days from 2006, or is this still 1999?
On Tuesday, Canadian communications equipment maker and former tech darling Nortel Networks
According to financial-data scourer Hoovers.com, a division of information behemoth Dun & Bradstreet
It's not, after all, as if Nortel is the kind of money-printing machine that's able to afford a $100 million gamble here and there. According to Capital IQ, Nortel has $600 million in net cash (cash and equivalents minus long-term debt) before it shells out for Tasman. But over the past 12 months, Nortel burned through $257 million in free cash flow, meaning that unless it reverses its cash-burning ways, it could become saddled with net debt within two years.
Compare that with the performance of the company's primary U.S. rivals, Lucent
So to sum up, Cisco continues to lead this tech trio, with cash in the bank and more flowing in every day. Lucent is dead last in terms of cash, but it's gaining ground steadily. Nortel sits in the No. 2 slot with a sizeable cash hoard, but it's losing ground steadily. Let's hope the Tasman deal works out for Nortel, because Nortel really isn't in a position where it can afford many mistakes.
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Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own, nor is he short, shares of any company mentioned in this article.