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Nortel settles fight to divvy up $7.3 bln from liquidation

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CHICAGO, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Former telecommunications equipment giant Nortel Networks Ltd reached an agreement on Wednesday to divvy up the $7.3 billion raised from liquidating the failed company, clearing the way for pensioners and bondholders to get paid after a seven-year wait.

The agreement provides 24 percent or $1.8 billion of the cash for Nortel's former U.S. business. Nortel estates in Canada and Europe will receive 57 percent and 18 percent each, the former company said in a court filing.

The cash at the center of the fight was raised from the sale of Nortel's global businesses, including patents sold in 2011 for $4.5 billion to a group of technology firms led by Apple Inc , Microsoft Corp and Sony Corp.

The deal becomes effective in the first quarter of 2017, ending one of the most expensive and complex cross-border legal battles in history.

Ontario-based Nortel stumbled from ranking among the world's most valuable companies during the 1990s Internet bubble to bankruptcy in 2009 and liquidation.

(Reporting by Tracy Rucinski in Chicago; Editing by Bill Rigby and Lisa Shumaker)