Dying telecom firm Nortel, which auctions its wireless business this week, has said Blackberry maker Research In Motion (RIM) was shut out of the bidding process for failing to sign non-disclosure agreements.
Toronto-headquartered Nortel, which has been operating under bankruptcy protection since January after posting losses of $5 billion last year, is auctioning its various divisions to liquidate itself.
Its prized next-generation wireless business will be auctioned on Friday in New York under court supervision, with Nokia-Siemens Networks and America's MatlinPatterson Global Opportunities Partners as the two bidders.
The BlackBerry maker Tuesday accused Nortel managers of shutting it out of the bidding process.
RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie said they are ready to offer $1.1 billion to Nortel for the wireless unit, much higher than Nokia-Siemens's starting offer of $650 million and MatlinPatterson's $725 million.
Denying the RIM allegations, Nortel said Wednesday that the BlackBerry maker was shut out as it failed to meet court-determined requirements to participate in the auction.
In a statement, Nortel said the BlackBerry maker refused to sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) needed to protect the intellectual property of its wireless unit as bidders assessed its assets.
It said since the approval of the bidding procedures, it has engaged with all potential bidders, including RIM.
Even as "other parties moved expeditiously to comply with the court approved procedures to become qualified bidders", RIM submitted its letter asking to become a bidder only July 15, the statement said.
Nortel said even though it has been trying to work with the BlackBerry maker on acceptable confidentiality terms, "RIM has refused, however, to comply with the court approved procedures".
In his angry statement Tuesday, the BlackBerry co-CEO urged the Canadian government to stop Nortel from selling its crucial next-generation wireless technology -- known as Long Term Evolution (LTE) -- to foreign players.
LTE will allow carriers to offer cell phones with advanced features such as online gaming and video streaming.
There is also speculation that the BlackBerry maker is not serious about buying Nortel's wireless business and is only in having a closer look at Nortel's new-generation technology.