Canada considers review of Ericsson-Nortel deal

Wed Jul 29, 2009 1:09pm EDT
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada will not make a decision on whether to review Nortel Networks' $1.13 billion sale of wireless assets to Sweden's Ericsson until after a 21-day appeal period is complete, Canadian Industry Minister Tony Clement said on Wednesday.

"We have to first consider whether the Investment Canada Act applies, that's what we're reviewing right now," Clement told reporters in Ottawa.

The sale to Ericsson got the blessing of U.S. and Canadian courts on Tuesday. Losing bidders and Nortel creditors can now appeal the ruling.

When asked whether he would wait for the appeal process to finish before making a decision on a government review, Clement said: "I think that is accurate, yes, but in the meantime, during the 21-day period, obviously we have to review what applies and what doesn't apply."

The federal government has been lobbied by Canadian Blackberry maker Research In Motion to block the sale. RIM argues that keeping Nortel's technology in Canada is vital to national security.

It is not clear whether Ottawa will have the final say in approving or rejecting the Ericsson purchase under the Investment Canada Act, which normally requires a government review for foreign takeovers of a Canadian business worth more than C$312 million.

Even so, the industry minister has discretionary powers to demand a review in some cases.

(Reporting by Louise Egan; editing by Peter Galloway)