The Canadian Government May Oppose A Takeover Of Research In Motion

| About: BlackBerry Ltd. (BBRY)

The past year has been tough for BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIMM):

  • While Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone and Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android gained market share in the U.S. in the most recent quarter, RIM saw its market share decline from 19% to 16% of U.S. smartphone customers according to the most recent ComScore numbers reported by CNET.
  • Blackberry faced service outages and delays around the world in October.
  • The company announced it would take a $485 million charge in December related to promotional action it would be taking due to its high inventory of Playbook tablets.
  • And their co-CEO's recently resigned.

And as the stock price has declined on the Nasdaq from $70.54 last February to a closing price of $16.88 at the time of this article, the hope of a takeover by a larger company may have been on some investors' minds. These hopes may have dwindled last February when big player Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) announced a partnership with Nokia (NYSE:NOK), and then later in August when Google announced that it agreed to acquire Motorola Mobility. Then in January of this year, Bloomberg reported that Samsung wasn't interested in buying RIM or using RIM's software through a licensing deal, leaving anyone dreaming of a takeover wondering which giant technology company, if any may be left as a possible candidate.

And now, even if there is a company considering acquiring RIM, it may have an obstacle to consider, if it's not a Canadian company. Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada and leader of the country's majority Conservative government, today indicated to Reuters that he did not wish to comment on or prejudice hypothetical transactions, but he would like to see Research in Motion continue to grow as a Canadian company.

Since it was Harper's government that blocked BHP Billiton's (NYSE:BHP) attempt to take over Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan (NYSE:POT) in 2010, the takeover dream some investors may have for RIM might face a new uncertainty: whether the Canadian government would allow it.

This added uncertainty of what the government would do in a hypothetical situation may be a good reason for RIM investors hoping for a takeover to consider the company's actual current and future prospects in the event it doesn't receive a takeover offer.

Disclosure: I am long AAPL.

Disclaimer: The commentary expressed in this article is not legal advice, nor investment advice, and is subject to Seeking Alpha's Terms of Use, which are available here.

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