The rise and fall of Nortel Networks (NYSE:NT) is nearing its final act. A pan-European rival is buying Nortel's core wireless technology assets, and the hyenas are circling around what's left of the fallen Canadian giant.

Nokia Siemens Networks, a joint venture between Finnish telecom giant Nokia (NYSE:NOK) and German technology titan Siemens AG (NYSE:SI), will pay $650 million for Nortel's high-speed wireless infrastructure division. The Canadian government is helping out with a $300 million loan commitment, in return for a promise to keep some 2,500 Nortel jobs.

A dying Nortel under bankruptcy proceedings doesn't catch many flies, but with the renewed vigor of a fresh corporate backing, this wireless powerhouse can regain its importance for the industry -- just under a new name. Industry executives threw support behind the deal, knowing it strengthens a key supplier. Sprint-Nextel (NYSE:S) CEO Dan Hesse noted that "This news eliminates industry uncertainty and enhances CDMA and EVDO [high-speed wireless platforms], today and in the future. We are pleased to have the support of a strong and stable supplier."

The partial merger faces scrutiny by Canadian and American bankruptcy courts at the end of July. Assuming that the deal passes muster, Nokia Siemens will gain a strong foothold in the North American market where Nortel, LM Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC), and Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE:ALU) rule the roost today.

And this may breathe new life into Nortel's wilting assets, too. Verizon (NYSE:VZ) recently signed up Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent to build its next-generation network. Though Verizon has been a large Nortel customer in the past, the pending bankruptcy didn't exactly inspire confidence that anything would get built -- and now Nortel's technology has the backing of two of Europe's biggest technology names. Moreover, Nokia Siemens got Nortel's hand for a song. This is a cheap way to expand into new customer accounts and gain the technical know-how of a major rival.

While great news for Nortel's employees and for investors in Nokia and Siemens, Nortel's management is still looking for buyers for its remaining divisions. Nortel doesn't expect to be able to return any value to today's shareholders even after selling everything that wasn't nailed down (and some stuff that was), so the stock, currently suspended from the Toronto and New York exchanges, looks to vanish for good. Sayonara, Nortel.

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Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. He doesn't even own a cell phone. You can check out Anders' holdings or a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.