The company said the negotiations would include manufacturing activities in Brazil, Northern Ireland, and France.
"This is the same strategy we introduced five years ago when we divested most of our manufacturing," Nortel spokeswoman Tina Warren said Thursday. "It will affect a number of employees, but we're in discussions, so it would be premature to discuss."
The company, based just outside Toronto, has gone through a massive downsizing since the global telecom industry began its steepest and deepest decline in history.
Nortel is now only about one-third of its former size, having already cut about 60,000 jobs worldwide. But even before its period of post-bubble downsizing, Nortel had divested much of its manufacturing.