NEW YORK - Nortel Networks, the lagging telecommunications equipment maker, has sought advice for a possible bankruptcy should turnaround plans fail to stem its loss of revenue, according to a report published by the Wall Street Journal on its Web site today.

A spokesman for the Toronto-based company told the newspaper that Nortel has no immediate plans to seek bankruptcy protection but has sought legal counsel from several advisers on the subject.

The Journal also reported that Nortel has been exploring the possibility of assistance from the Canadian government, citing anonymous people familiar with the company's deliberations.

Nortel swung to a loss in the third quarter and announced plans to cut 1,300 jobs from a total of about 31,200. That came on top of a previous round of cuts totaling 1,200. The company's stock has lost more than 97 percent of its value in the last year.

Nortel shares dropped 7 cents to 45 cents in premarket trading Wednesday.