RIM Not Giving Up on Nortel's CDMA and LTE Units

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Includes: BB, ERIC, NRTLQ
by: Mark Evans

According to the Toronto Star, Research in Motion (RIMM) is interested in acquiring “certain Nortel assets” even though Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) has won the auction for Nortel’s (OTC:NRTLQ) CDMA business and LTE R&D unit with a $1.13-billion bid.

RIM believes it can still get a food in the M&A door in wake of the Canadian government’s suggestions it could intervene in the auction:

“The government has the authority and responsibility to get involved to protect vital Canadian interests,” RIM said in a statement.

With no insight into RIM’s strategic motives, it strikes me that RIM is blowing strategic smoke.

It’s hard to believe RIM wanted the CDMA business, although it is a profitable cash-cow.

RIM is far more interested in Nortel’s LTE technology and patents; the question is where that technology exists – some of it appears to be part of the Ericsson deal but from an e-mail sent by enterprise president, Joel Hackney, the deal did not include 4G technology, which is likely want RIM wants.

So why the political games, the flag-waving and last minute bid by RIM? Jim Balsillie, RIM’s co-CEO, is a smart cookie so something’s going on.