Ottawa is watching BlackBerry closely but won’t say if it will veto foreign sale
The Canadian government has admitted it will be paying close attention as BlackBerry explores ‘strategic alternatives’ going forward, including a possible sale of the company.
The government has the power to overrule any major takeover for competition and national security reasons, but Industry Minister James Moore told Reuters that although it wished BlackBerry well and was keeping a close eye on developments, it would not comment on the company’s affairs.
He said he knew BlackBerry was restructuring in a manner that best suited its interests but would not speculate whether a foreign bid could run into difficulties, adding only that the government wanted the company to do well and keep employing Canadians. Earlier this year, Export Development Canada (EDC), the country’s export credit agency, provided Telefonica with a £170 million government loan to purchase BlackBerry smartphones and services.
Chinese PC manufacturer Lenovo has been linked in the past with a bid for BlackBerry, but some have suggested the BlackBerry handset division is worthless and the most valuable parts of the company are its extensive patent portfolio and corporate customer base.
BlackBerry announced earlier this month that it was considering putting itself up for sale after Blackberry 10-powered devices, including the BlackBerry Z10 and Q10, failed to improve its fortunes significantly.
Once considered the leader in smartphones, BlackBerry has seen its market share eroded by the likes of iOS and Android, which have also closed the gap in in the administration and security features desired by corporate customers.
BlackBerry’s value has fallen from a 2008 peak of $84 billion (£54b) to $4.8 billion (£3.1b) in recent times, while it posted a £55 million loss in its most recent quarterly results.
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