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RIM files cranky press release chiding Nortel for blocking asset buy

Chris Ziegler

Canadian telecom infrastructure giant Nortel is in the process of being disassembled piece-by-piece as stakeholders look to recoup their losses, and RIM -- noble knight in shining armor that it is -- wanted to do its part to help keep some of the company in Canada by offering about $1.1 billion US for Nortel's CDMA and LTE operations plus "certain other...assets." Noble gestures aside, it makes a lot of sense that RIM would want to start controlling more of its end-to-end technology stack by getting into the infrastructure game, and Nortel's CDMA and LTE gear are the best fit for that -- not to mention likely some of the most promising cash cows among Nortel's businesses over the coming several years. Alas, it seems that Nortel itself gummed up the works by requiring that RIM not bid on any other Nortel assets for a period of one year, something RIM can't seem to get over. Says co-CEO Jim Balsillie, "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" -- in other words, "we really think this should stay in Canada, and you're making it difficult." The company remains interested if Nortel is willing to hear it out, but really, is it a huge deal that they not be able to buy any other Nortel businesses for a year?

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