Seeking Alpha

Harper: Canada would study BlackBerry sale for security concerns

  • Canada would scrutinize the implications for national security if a foreign company tried to buy BlackBerry (BBRY), Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said.
  • Harper's comments follow reports that Lenovo is interested in acquiring BlackBerry, although the speculation is divided over whether the Chinese firm would try to buy all or parts of the mobile device maker.
  • Harper's government blocked one deal on national-security grounds earlier this month - Manitoba Telecom Services' sale of its Allstream unit to Egyptian investors.
  • Experts and lawyers reckon a Lenovo purchase of BlackBerry would also draw scrutiny from the Committee for Foreign Investment in the U.S., especially as the Pentagon has 470,000 BlackBerrys in use.
Comments (26)
  • I think it's stupid that Blackberry tried to be like Apple and wants to go private. Nothing wrong with servicing existing clients and be successful as a smaller company.
    20 Oct 2013, 02:04 AM Reply Like
  • I honestly don't see how Canada will allow a sale of BBRY to a Chinese company when in the last 60 days Ottawa has vetoed two deals from foreign companies citing national security interests.

     

    A few years ago Canada blocked the sale of Potash a fertilizer company to a Chinese firm citing that it was not in the country's best interest.
    20 Oct 2013, 02:18 AM Reply Like
  • I think, they blocked the BHP's (Aussie) bid for Potash.
    20 Oct 2013, 02:50 AM Reply Like
  • Do your homework before posting.
    20 Oct 2013, 10:13 AM Reply Like
  • Typical Canada government. Want ton have domestic jobs, but their company cars are built by non Canadian companies.
    If they are so committed to BlackBerry, everyone one of their employees should be carrying one around.
    20 Oct 2013, 06:31 AM Reply Like
  • There seems to be a desperate effort to make blackberry disappear and whenever some positive news appear the negative debates start .BlackBerry will not disappear whether in partnership with lenovo or as a private company ,you cannot make them disappear by writing negative articles only.
    What could be very bad for apple and samsung is to have to compete against blackberry/lenovo
    20 Oct 2013, 07:28 AM Reply Like
  • I really don't know what the issue is with security here. The US government can spend $3000 per phone to replace all those BlackBerry's ($1.5 billion), with some 1990 style phone that NATO uses. That's not the most exciting thing, all the business executives and security firms can as well. Some will say, who needs BlackBerry?

     

    If they're not so important, why would any one stop the sale? I'll bet no one would stop the sale of Apple to the Chinese...
    20 Oct 2013, 09:00 AM Reply Like
  • Well Rimm has lousy phones as Apple and Google improve the security on their phones Rimm junk will disappear.

     

    There is a Canadian car company???
    20 Oct 2013, 10:16 AM Reply Like
  • Canada manufactures cars of all brands, but the Canadian auto industry started before most countries. General Motors Canada is an amalgamation of several car brands started in Canada.

     

    Through marques such as Brooks, Redpath, Tudhope, McKay, Galt Gas-Electric, Gray-Dort, Brockville Atlas, Russell (CCM), and McLaughlin, Canada had many domestic auto brands. In 1918, McLaughlin was bought by General Motors, and was re-branded General Motors of Canada.

     

    The first large-scale production of automobiles in Canada took place in Walkerville, Ontario, near Windsor, in 1904.

     

    As well as GM, Ford is a Canada-US firm operating from the beginning in Detroit-Windsor. In the first year of operations, Gordon McGregor and Wallace Campbell, along with a handful of workmen produced 117 Ford Model Cs at the Walkerville Wagon Works factory in Windsor.
    20 Oct 2013, 11:16 AM Reply Like
  • Thank you for the insightful response. Few Americans understand how Auto-Pact developed a joint automobile manufacturing operation, cross-border. It's not the first time that the Americans saw something that Canada was producing better and asked them to stop in support of their own industry, making multiple deals that were supposed to advantage Canada's interests. Read about the Avro-Arrow. The deal we made with the Americans is we would stop our program in return for American defense of our borders through their military should we need.
    20 Oct 2013, 12:51 PM Reply Like
  • As the pattern emerges, whenever some foreign suitor wishes to buy a Canadian, supposedly private, firm, there's some new pretense to void the deal. This is like nationalizing firms without having to pay for it.
    20 Oct 2013, 11:02 AM Reply Like
  • Canada and China, which one is more capitalist nowadays, which one is more distant from US, it's hard to say when you look deeper. In general, China wants to do business, and be friendly to US at the same time. Canada? Canadians hate the thought of Canada is the 51th state...

     

    Some engineers giving knowledge of making 386 chips to their engineer buddies in China once was deemed as a national security issue. But later IBM sold the whole PC business to Lenovo, along with its entire PC customer base. Why IBM wants to do that? How can IBM get the deal approved?

     

    My point is things are quite different now from then. If Lenovo wants to buy BB, it will work with US government to get the deal cleared on US part.

     

    On Canadian government part, the real question for it to answer is whether blocking any deal from foreign suitors would hold Blackberry dry on the vine. Once that happens, the "national security" depending on Blackberry goes with it as well.
    20 Oct 2013, 11:07 AM Reply Like
  • Amazon or IBM seem like the two leading candidates to me. In theory Oracle could actually swoop in and join the Battle of the Form factors. All three are major Federal Government contractors and of course the irony that being a major Government contractor has been a big problem for Blackberry. I agree the Pentagon has total control over this debate right now. If they decide to pull the plug on the contract then its lights out for what Becky Quick famously called her "crack berry." This is without a doubt the company that inspired both Google and Apple...the irony being of course that these two truly massive "gainers" dispensed with the "niceties" of securing of said Data and became rich beyond belief for doing so. It still remains to be seen if this done at a long run opportunity cost however. Wintel now has Nokia and and gaming platform in the form of the X-box. Larry Ellison could have bought HP for a song actually and may still be interested of course. Jeff Bezos has made nothing but one brilliant political play after another so he is very well positioned to add to the Kindle. IBM is totally beaten down right now but obviously has a legacy stretching back decades in providing said "privacy." Will be interesting to see what happens. (one added thought would be Sony actually.)
    20 Oct 2013, 12:42 PM Reply Like
  • This is the very reason Rim should be private, they technology will be breached!!
    20 Oct 2013, 01:39 PM Reply Like
  • Blackberry Management and its Board, along with Prem Watsa
    are trying to steal the Company.

     

    Harper should block this crooked deal instead.
    20 Oct 2013, 02:07 PM Reply Like
  • Ref. PW and Co. pre approved purchase offer!
    I don't want to think for a second that the deal was intended to deceive shareholders!
    If PW is the straight forward person that they say he is, he has to come forward immediately to certify that he has all the financing approved and compromise that he is buying the company at 9 $ share before the end of next week, or his offer will have to be considered of no value, and then he should be paid nothing, that is ZERO!
    I he walks away and pays no penalty, will had caused serious damage to the shareholders, investors and the people at BBRY
    and should not go unnoticed. More clearly Lawyers should step in and investigate if there was collusion or other possible issues in that very strange deal approved so fast on a weekend by the BOD, BS, TH and the CFO, and I imagine recommended by BBRY counsel!
    Possibly he prepared the bid letter with the help of TH and insiders at BBRY with the sole intention to pocket the 150 Million and then sharing the money with them!
    A break up fee should be paid only when the buyer has lined up all financing, has paid commitment fees to the lenders providing the funding, and is putting a real money deposit in escrow that he can lose totally if don't come forward at closing date!.
    Then some break up fee is justified. For the size of this deal maybe 50 Million and never 150!
    But as PW said, if he is not putting real money upfront, and has not closed his financing, than his offer is worthless as of today and deserve no penalty payment from BBRY!
    More, the issue would be considered in many countries an intent of committing fraud and a serious crime for all the people involved, the same way as if can be found proof that he never intended to come forward, had not interest in lining up financing, and his all intention was only to defraud shareholders to collect the reward of 15O Million, that could be a much bigger crime than a tip on a takeover that gets some people many years behind bars!
    Lawyers should investigate all the issues that had been damaging BBRY reputation since June 28th, including TH, BS, BOD and CFO and their press releases, Also try to find who where the most important people or Institutions behind shorting and badmouthing the company so badly, (including any that could be related to PW.They were always in perfect time starting, like an army, just moments immediately after BBRY had released any good news!
    To all interested participants, we need to exchange comments of your legal point of view because now is the time to ring all the alarms before is too late!
    Last one, we need to know the real list of all the components and finished goods that are included in the 1 Billion charged back, that for sure includes the newest Z10, G10 and other great phones and systems, that once are sold should bring back a greater amount of money, and try to find out if maybe the real intention was to bring down more the price of the stock to favor the takeover by PW at a much lower price!
    20 Oct 2013, 02:46 PM Reply Like
  • This is China's fault. As long as they are engaging in cyber espionage from their military against western countries and especially the US they will not be buying anything that has security wrapped around it.

     

    They will get mostly rocks and scarp iron until they open up and quit the espionage. And corporate theft.
    20 Oct 2013, 05:56 PM Reply Like
  • Rim never thot bring yr own device would catch on.

     

    They thot their encryption wld rule.

     

    Waterloo is a key place for this gov't. The current gov gen ran u of Waterloo, deep ties to the current flavour of conservatives.

     

    Rim is a jato bottle for one of the few success stories in Ontario, once Canada's industrial heartland, much in the same way potash corp is important in Saskatchewan.

     

    The pm would accept an investment in the telecom sector if it's a u.s. co., but not if it's Egyptian.

     

    I don't know blaming the Chinese is really germane.

     

    To many people, it looks a lot like it's following the path of Nortel.
    20 Oct 2013, 07:59 PM Reply Like
  • As many people on this forum have stated that PW and TH are trying to steal the company, i don't think that is the case. I'm not naive by any means but if an investigation is launched those facts will come out then for sure they would be prosecuted. So I'm sure they are well aware of that. As far as the law suites against blackberry, when they go to trial if the BOD is found to have been negligent and failed in their fiduciary duty they will be in a lot of hot water believe me they will.
    20 Oct 2013, 09:15 PM Reply Like
  • The most likely outcome would be Lenovo buying BBRY's hardware division with an agreed multi-year contract to license BB10.
    The entire reasoning with this strategic review is to trim down the company and get rid of the fat/redundancies etc.,

     

    And a possible strategic partnership and/or go private with the assistance of a buyer. All while still pushing forward BB10 and BES10.

     

    If BB10 is not part of a buyers agenda, BBRY is not selling. Another reason why they are heavily trimming the fat to run more efficient.
    21 Oct 2013, 01:55 AM Reply Like
  • If other potential buyers not pony up, I'm afraid PW going to screw investors buying BB for cheap then sell the hardware to Lenovo. Either way TH will get his fat payout.
    21 Oct 2013, 08:08 AM Reply Like
  • All i can say is if Blackberry is irrelevant, and many people say its no good and nobody wants to buy the company or who will buy the company (sound familiar) then why all the attention and all the articles being written. Why is the DOD and Canadian government and NATO all so concerned about security. Why did they not just replace all their phones with new BB 10 phones. Then there would not be a problem right. No DOD says we are considering buying Iphones even though we can't trust their security ha very funny. So now that all the (know it alls) have said no one will buy blackberry there are 3 or 4 suitors as well a Lenovo. Now everyone has their shorts tied in a Knot. I just hope they can pull of a deal and then the BOD and TH can go to hell, and let someone else take care of business. What about that marketing genus Frank Boulbon, he hasn't said anything of value in months and he's still working for Blackberry? 2 weeks ago he told Crackberry.com we are not abandoning BBM for Iphone and Android, it should be released in days! That was 2 weeks ago. can you believe this idiot, you would think they learned from their mistakes, but noooo.
    21 Oct 2013, 04:55 AM Reply Like
  • Crazy Mary great comment, you are right in your appreciation of the capabilities of the people still managing BBRY!
    Let's keep our eyes open as this week is critical.
    I wish they would finally open BBM for iOS and Android NOW!
    21 Oct 2013, 09:22 AM Reply Like
  • they heard u sir bbm is availble now
    21 Oct 2013, 07:22 PM Reply Like
  • Now BBM for Android and iOS is there but SA has not started any more new comments and it looks very strange that suddenly nobody has anything else to say about BBRY.
    Stock is frozen and now is going to be seen what is next!
    Ultimately I hope PW comes forward this week showing real money, or could see his reputation damaged seriously, and that will be the end at people calling him the Canadian Warren Buffet, as if he had time to buy Greek Banks, more important is if had some done some press release about his real intentions at BBRY where shareholders are extremely concern that his intended deal was just a bogus agreement with TH, BS and BOD to collect a 150 Million $ ransom!
    Lawyers will have to put an injunction on this intended pay if there are serious proofs that he had done nothing valid to deserve it!
    22 Oct 2013, 12:32 PM Reply Like
  • Exactly. On the heels of the news reporting 10M downloads of BBM worldwide, the SP actually fell. Why?
    23 Oct 2013, 10:32 AM Reply Like
DJIA (DIA) S&P 500 (SPY)