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BlackBerry battles for Nortel assets

Blames Nortel for blocking bid

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Research In Motion - the firm behind the BlackBerry - has complained that Canadian telco provider Nortel has unfairly stopped the company from bidding for part of its wireless business.

Nortel denies doing any such thing, and it looks like the row will intensify ahead of the final auction for the business due to take place tomorrow.

Let's start with RIM. It said it was willing to pay $1.1bn for Nortel's CDMA and Long Term Evolution Access business, which it believes is more than being offered by Nokia Siemens Networks. But RIM claims it could only be considered a viable bidder for the business if it promised not to bid for any other parts of Nortel's business, something it was not prepared to do.

Jim Balsillie, RIM's co-chief executive officer, said: "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."

But Nortel, while admitting it had entered a stalking horse agreement with Nokia Siemens Networks, said it remained open to other offers and "has made every effort to ensure all who want to participate can". Nortel said other parties had signed similar court approved documents to become qualified bidders, and that RIM had not objected to the process until 15 July.

Nortel said all bidders were required "to execute a standard confidentiality agreement. The agreement contains a common 'standstill' provision". It said all qualified bidders were subject to the same agreement. ®

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