Ottawa to examine Nortel-Ericsson deal, Harper says

Tue Aug 11, 2009 3:10pm EDT
 
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PANAMA CITY, Panama (Reuters) - Canada will examine the proposed $1.13 billion sale of Nortel Networks Corp assets to Ericsson under the Investment Canada Act, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Tuesday.

""This transaction will be examined under the Investment Canada Act. There is a process in place to ensure that the transactions are examined when they are of a significant size and to ensure they are in Canada's national interest," Harper told reporters at an event in Panama City.

"That process will be respected but we will certainly not be bringing forward any kind of legislation to increase protectionism in terms of foreign investment in Canada."

Toronto-based Nortel, which filed for bankruptcy protection in January, has taken steps to sell its key divisions to generate value for its creditors.

Research In Motion, the company that makes the BlackBerry smartphone, has opposed the sale of Nortel's wireless assets to Sweden's Ericsson, arguing it was shut out of bidding. It has urged the government to review the deal to ensure it's in Canada's best interests.

While Harper said the government would examine the deal in terms of the Investment Canada Act, Ottawa has yet to say whether it would launch any additional review.

(Reporting by Sean Mattson in Panama City; Writing by Wojtek Dabrowski in Toronto; editing by Frank McGurty)

 
<p>Nortel President and Chief Executive Officer Mike Zafirovski (R) waits for the start of the company's annual general meeting with Chairman of the Board Harry Pearce in Ottawa May 7, 2008. REUTERS/Chris Wattie</p>