BlackBerry cries foul as its bid for Nortel is scuttled | business | Hindustan Times
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BlackBerry cries foul as its bid for Nortel is scuttled

business Updated: Jul 21, 2009 13:04 IST

Playing up the nationalist card, BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Limited (RIM) has cried foul over the denial of the right to bid for the wireless businesses of dying Canadian telecom giant Nortel.

Toronto-based Nortel, which is selling its various businesses to liquidate itself as part of bankruptcy protection, is selling its CDMA and Long Term Evolution Access businesses this Friday.

But the BlackBerry maker Monday said it has been blocked from bidding for Nortel's wireless businesses, which it says are crucial for developing "current and next generation technology for wireless infrastructure and mobile devices".

In a statement, RIM urged the Canadian government to intervene to review the auction of Nortel's wireless assets to stop the transfer of crucial technology out of Canada.

It said it attempted to be "a qualified bidder" in Nortel's auction bidding process for the wireless business but was told it could be qualified only if it promised not to submit offers for other Nortel assets for a period of one year.

"In seeking to impose this condition, Nortel and its advisors were fully aware of RIM's desire to purchase other Nortel assets as part of a solution to retain key portions of Nortel's business under Canadian ownership."

Despite repeated efforts, RIM said Nortel, its advisors and its court-appointed monitor have rejected its attempts to be allowed as a bidder.

The BlackBerry maker said it is willing to pay up to $1.1 billion for Nortel's wireless businesses and other assets, which is "an extremely attractive price for Nortel creditors and value substantially in excess of the stalking horse bid made by Nokia Siemens Networks".

RIM's co-CEO Jim Balsillie said: "RIM is extremely disappointed that Nortel's world leading technology, the development of which has been funded in part by Canadian taxpayers, seems destined to leave Canada and that Canada's own Export Development Corporation is preparing to help by lending $300 million to another bidder."

"RIM remains extremely interested in acquiring Nortel assets through a Canadian ownership solution that would serve the dual purpose of keeping key wireless technologies in Canada and extending RIM's leadership in the research, development and distribution of leading edge wireless solutions, but RIM has found itself blocked at every turn," he added.

RIM, which is headquartered at Waterloo near Toronto, said "the loss of Canadian ownership of Nortel's CDMA and Long Term Evolution Access businesses may significantly, adversely affect national interests, with potential national security implications, and that the Government of Canada should review the situation closely".