This may be a blinding statement of the obvious, but Nortel Networks shares are now officially worthless.
The former tech icon formally applied on Friday to have its shares delisted from the Toronto Stock Exchange, where not long ago, there was endless hand-wringing over NT's enormous market weighting.
In a press release Friday, the company said: "Nortel does not expect that the company's common shareholders or the NNL preferred shareholders will receive any value from the creditor protection proceedings."
This formalizes what most Nortel followers concluded back in January: The trip through creditor protection would leave nothing for equity holders. Anyone taking a contrarian view by owning the stock will have the dubious distinction of being the last investor to loss money on Nortel.
Nortel shares closed Friday at 19 cents. The company has asked for its shares to be delisted before the opening of Monday's trading. The announcement comes as part of the board of director's decision to liquidate the company. All of Nortel's business units will be sold to pay back creditors.
At their peak, in August of 2000, Nortel shares hit $124.5, or $1,245 a share after factoring in the company's 10:1 stock consolidation.
Equity investors typically get nothing from these large restructurings, something to keep in mind as CanWest Global Communications attempts to recapitalize, and General Motors winds its way through creditor protection.
There may be activity in a stock after a creditor filing, but part of the buying will simply reflect short sellers covering positions. Investing in the equity of a company in creditor protection is fraught with peril.