LM Ericsson is confident Ottawa will approve a $1.13-billion US bid to buy insolvent Nortel Network’s wireless business despite objections to the deal raised in Canada, the Swedish wireless giant’s incoming chief executive said yesterday.
Ericsson has followed all the rules to acquire the assets — including Nortel’s key next-generation long-term evolution, or LTE, wireless technology that critics argue should stay in Canada — said chief financial officer Hans Vestberg, who will become Ericsson’s CEO on Jan. 1, 2010.
Ericsson will also talk to the Export Development Canada and other government organizations to see if they will help finance the deal, he said.
The export credit agency backed another Nortel bidder, Nokia Siemens, with a $300-million US loan commitment — nearly half of the Finnish company’s $650-million US offer.
Industry Minister Tony Clement wouldn’t say yesterday whether he would intervene. “Right now, in order to be non-prejudicial, I have to keep my options open,” he said.
So far, the most strenuous objection has come from Waterloo-based BlackBerry maker RIM.
Nortel may also face further challenges from other bidders or stakeholders who considered the auction to be unfair.