John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

RIM to Nortel: WTF?

jim-balsillieWell, this is odd.

Nortel Networks has rejected Research In Motion’s bid for the wireless infrastructure assets Nortel is unloading as part of bankruptcy proceedings. RIM said Monday night that it intended to offer $1.1 billion for Nortel’s CDMA and LTE businesses, but was told it could do so only if it agreed not to bid on other Nortel assets, something it had intended to do.

In a blistering statement, RIM (RIMM) accused Nortel (NT) of imposing unfair conditions on the court-supervised auction of its assets and of jeopardizing their continued Canadian ownership.

“RIM is extremely disappointed that Nortel’s world leading technology, the development of which has been funded in part by Canadian taxpayers, seems destined to leave Canada,” said co-CEO Jim Balsillie. “RIM remains extremely interested in acquiring Nortel assets through a Canadian ownership solution that would serve the dual purpose of keeping key wireless technologies in Canada and extending RIM’s leadership in the research, development and distribution of leading edge wireless solutions, but RIM has found itself blocked at every turn.”

Why? Nortel says RIM was late to the game and hasn’t followed proper auction procedure.

“Other parties moved expeditiously to comply with the court approved procedures to become a qualified bidder,” the company said in a statement. “It was not until July 15, 2009, that RIM submitted a letter to Nortel asking to be a qualified bidder and since that time, Nortel has diligently attempted to work with RIM on acceptable confidentiality terms relating to Nortel’s valuable intellectual property assets, but RIM refused to comply with the court approved procedures.”

What’s really going on here? It’s hard to say, though clearly there’s more to the story. After all, RIM’s $1.1 billion bid is far, far more than Nokia Siemens’s stalking horse bid of $650 million. And what does RIM want with the CDMA business, anyway?

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald