With John Chen taking over as CEO of BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB), many believe the Waterloo, Ontario-based company may yet survive. Revelations that BlackBerry is near hack-proof in light of the Snowden affair shows at least one niche that the company remains competitive in. Additionally, the company is expected a windfall tax refund. On top of its properties that it owns outright and the company’s lack of debt, there are certainly a number of positives for the once great smartphone maker.
Canadian law an obstacle to any sale of BlackBerry
Ontario’s Economic Development Minister, Erik Hoskins, is also one of those who remains bullish on the company’s future. He indicated today that if the company were to be broken up and sold in bits, that the Ontario government wouldn’t necessarily get involved. Canadian law would be major obstacle if BlackBerry were to be sold in its entirety.
“I don’t think we are going to intervene in a business decision taken by the company,” Eric Hoskins said in an interview in London. “Our preference is for BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) to remain its own entity and to remain in Ontario.”
Mr. Hoskins, who is presently in London to both meet with business leaders and to speak at the Bloomberg Enterprise Technology Summit which begins tomorrow, maintains that BlackBerry still has a “strong future” and reiterated that BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) is responsible for building a strong high tech sector on Ontario.
“I don’t think anybody is certain in terms of what the future of BlackBerry holds but it still produces, both on the hardware and the software side, products which are appreciated by a great number of individuals and companies,” Mr. Hoskins said. “I wouldn’t write it off yet. It has the technology which is still very much in demand. But it’s a fast moving business and particularly on the consumer side any company needs to be able to innovate quickly to respond to changing consumer needs and what the market place holds. I remain optimistic.”
Perhaps in a nod to BlackBerry’s upcoming tax return, Mr. Hoskins added that “We want to do everything we could to make sure that it continues as a thriving company in Ontario.” These comments came when he was asked if BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) might go the route of Nortel Networks Corporation (OTCMKTS:NRTLQ).
BlackBerry reminds some of Nortel
Nortel Networks Corporation (OTCMKTS:NRTLQ), a multinational telecommunication company was founded in Montreal in 1895 and once had as many as 94,500 employees worldwide, but filed for protection from its creditors in 2009. The company was later broken up and sold for all its parts after ceasing all business operations.
Though Hoskins made his optimism quite clear, he tempered this with the acknowledgement that the government will look into any proposed sale of both BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) as a whole or partial sales of the company that has been a Canadian success story for years.
“The federal government looks at things through a slightly different lens. If there is an aspect of the company that does come up for sale the federal government will look in terms of who it might be comfortable with. But these are still relatively early days and there’s nothing at this stage indicating that is likely to happen,” he said.
A big thanks to Canada’s Globe and Mail for making this reporting possible.