Canadian Pension Fund AIMCo Says BlackBerry Lacks Recovery Plan

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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AIMCo CEO hopes BlackBerry can stage comeback, but says he wont invest just because its Canadian

The head of one of Canada’s top pension funds says he was involved in discussions regarding a takeover of BlackBerry, but declined to invest because at no point was he presented with a concrete business plan to turn the company around.

According to The Globe and Mail, Leo de Bever, CEO of Alberta Investment Management Corp (AIMCo), said all of the country’s major pension funds held talks with BlackBerry, which eventually abandoned its plan to sell itself to its largest shareholder Fairfax Holdings in favour of a new $1 billion finance deal.

BlackBerry recovery

blackberry canadaThe lion’s share of that finance is being provided by Canadian firms, but de Bever says although he is hoping BlackBerry can recover, he won’t invest in it just because it’s a Canadian company, declaring that he “can’t be Canada Inc.”

He adds that he has no idea what BlackBerry is going to do with its latest cash injection given the apparent lack of direction, but is optimistic that the company has “valuable” assets such as its patent portfolio, real estate and cash holdings, that could be better developed.

BlackBerry’s newest investors are also optimistic, with much of that attributed to the appointment of John Chen as interim chief executive. Chen previously headed up Sybase, an enterprise and services company that was sold in 2010 for six times of what it was worth when he first assumed the role, and it is hoped he can work similar magic at BlackBerry

Fairfax CEO Prem Watsa claims it pulled out of a takeover because its advisors said a leveraged buyout would add too much debt to the firm. However throughout the process, doubts persisted about Fairfax’s ability to raise the funds required to complete the transaction and BlackBerry was reportedly actively courting other suitors.

BlackBerry has had a bumpy year! Try our 2013 BlackBerry quiz!

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