Report: Canada was prepared for RIM's potential foreign takeover

A senior Canadian government minister was prepared to discuss a foreign takeover of Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) with the BlackBerry maker's CEO, Thorsten Heins, in March, in but the discussion never took place because Heins never brought it up, according to a Reuters report.

The report, citing internal documents and briefing notes for Industry Minister Christian Paradis, said there is no information available on how Canada would react to such a move, but said that Paradis was prepared to discuss a foreign takeover--but only if Heins brought it up.

"I examine proposed investments on a case-by-case basis and make my decisions based on the facts and merits of each proposed investment," Paradis was to tell Heins, who took the helm in January--but the RIM chief never broached the subject.

RM declined to comment on the conversation, according to Reuters. Under Canadian law, the government must examine any foreign takeover if it is above a certain monetary threshold to determine the impact on the Canadian economy.

In July Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said he was not aware of any foreign takeover bid for RIM and that the government has no comment on how it might approach such a move. In a conference call with reporters at the time, Flaherty said RIM is important to Canada and to the world, but he refused to be pinned down on foreign takeover talk (Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Amazon and Facebook have been rumored as suitors). "If there were a proposal for RIM or part of RIM coming from outside Canada, then that's a matter that of course the minister of industry would review, should it fall under the terms of the Investment Canada Act," he said. "But I'm not going to speculate because there's, as far as I know, nothing being proposed right now." 

RIM has said it is exploring strategic options, including a partnership, licensing its forthcoming BlackBerry 10 platform, or even a sale--but has not indicated what its plans are. RIM plans to release BlackBerry 10 in early 2013.

Heins has been on a media push recently to drum up interest in BlackBerry 10, and he will soon go on the road to sell the platform to wireless carriers, whose support RIM will need to mount a comeback in the smartphone market. RIM revealed that one new feature of the platform will be a new contact management feature that will allow BlackBerry users to see contact information and status updates from social media sites, blogs and other sites.

"BlackBerry has always had this heritage of productivity ... We are just going to make it better yet again, when we launch BB10," T.A. McCann, who is leading the development of the contacts and BlackBerry Messenger applications for BlackBerry 10, told Reuters. Such a feature has been used in a similar fashion by other OEMs, including HTC via its Sense user interface.

For more:
- see this Reuters article
- see this separate Reuters article
- see this The Verge article

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