TIMELINE: Key dates in the history of Nortel

Wed Jan 14, 2009 7:30pm EST

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(Reuters) - Nortel Networks Corp, North America's biggest maker of telephone equipment, filed for bankruptcy protection in the United States on Wednesday, a day before it was due to make a $107 million interest payment.

At its peak during the tech bubble of 2000, Nortel reported about $30 billion of annual revenue and employed nearly 93,000 employees.

Here are some key dates in the company's history:

Sept 1998 -- Company changes name to Nortel Networks from Northern Telecom underlining its shift toward data and multimedia networking from telecommunications

May 1, 2000 -- BCE Inc, Canada's biggest telecommunications group, completes spinoff to shareholders of 35 percent stake in Nortel, worth about C$88.5 billion ($75.6 billion)

July, 2000 -- Nortel shares reach a high of C$124.50, or more than C$1,100 each if adjusted for a stock consolidation that took place in late 2006, giving it a market cap of more than $250 billion.

October 24, 2000: Stock drops about 20 percent after company misses revenue target.

February 15, 2001 - Nortel cuts 2001 earnings and sales forecast in half, blaming severe erosion in U.S. economic conditions. The warning triggers a 33 percent drop in its stock and brings class-action lawsuits.

May 29, 2002 - Nortel plans to cut 3,500 jobs and sell more assets as it pares its revenue forecast.

June 4 - Nortel shares collapse to decade-long lows on concerns a new financing will further dilute its stock. Cash-hungry Nortel raises $1.49 billion June 7.

October 23, 2003 - Nortel reports a quarterly profit, but says it will restate results going back to 2000.

March 15, 2004 - Nortel says it will likely restate results for a second time and delay filing its annual report.

April 5 - The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission launches a formal investigation into Nortel's accounting

June 29 - Nortel exits manufacturing business, sells plants to Flextronics International, transfers 2,500 staff.

September 30 - Nortel cuts almost 10 percent of its staff, 3,250 jobs, and vacates offices worldwide.

January 11, 2005 - Nortel restates its results and says 12 senior executives will repay $8.6 million of bonuses.

October 17 - Motorola's No. 2 executive, Mike Zafirovski, is appointed CEO, promising renewed growth and focus.

February 8, 2006 - Nortel says it will pay $2.47 billion to settle two class-action suits from its accounting scandal.

February 7, 2007 - Nortel slashes 3,900 jobs and shifts 1,000 positions to lower-cost locations such as China and India.

October 15 - Nortel pays $35 million to settle civil charges filed by the SEC related to its accounting scandal.

February 27, 2008 - Nortel says it will cut 2,100 jobs as it faces persistently slow demand for its products.

September 17, 2008 - Nortel cuts revenue forecast, plans another round of restructuring and the sale of its Metro Ethernet Networks business. It says it may also look for a partner to develop fourth-generation wireless technology.

November 10 - Nortel announces 1,300 layoffs, a freeze on salary increases and a review of its real-estate portfolio after posting a $3.4 billion quarterly loss.

January 14, 2009 - Nortel files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States

($1=$1.22 Canadian)

(Reporting by Wojtek Dabrowski; editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)

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