BlackBerry deal: Canada to weigh security concerns of any foreign bids

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BlackBerry deal: Canada to weigh security concerns of any foreign bids
BlackBerry Ltd, the struggling smartphone maker seeking a buyer, should be wary of any deals that would raise national-security concerns, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Friday, according to a report.

Canada would examine those issues in any foreign bid for Waterloo, Ontario-based BlackBerry that requires a review under the nation's takeover law, Harper said in an interview with Bloomberg in Brussels.

BlackBerry is "a very important player in the IT sector and the advanced information-technology and communications sector," he said. "So it would be very important that any transactions involving BlackBerry in the future not lead to any concerns about security in that particular area of the economy."

Any sale of BlackBerry, or any of its assets is expected to undergo tough regulatory reviews in both Ottawa and Washington.

Under the Investment Canada Act, the federal government has wide ranging powers to veto any foreign takeover of a Canadian asset or company if it deems such a deal would not bring a "net benefit" to the country, or if it believes a deal might pose a threat to national security.

Last week, Canada blocked an Egyptian telecommunication entrepreneur's bid to acquire the Allstream fiber optic network owned by Manitoba Telecom Services, citing unspecified national security concerns.

Harper's comments on the matter come just a day after news that Chinese computer maker Lenovo, has signed a non-disclosure deal to examine BlackBerry's books.

© Thomson Reuters 2013

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