Optical/IP Networks

Canadian Gov't to Examine Nortel Auction 'Discrepancy'

The Canadian Deputy Minister of Investment says that his department will probe an "apparent discrepancy" between the offer given to Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) and another to BlackBerry as part of the Nortel Networks Ltd. wireless unit sell-off.

The Industry Committee of the Canadian House of Commons has been holding an emergency meeting to discuss the process of the Nortel bankruptcy action today. The meeting has so far heard testimony from Nortel, RIM, and the auction winner, Ericsson. (See Nortel Wireless Winner: It's Ericsson!.)

During the course of the Ericsson testimony it became apparent that -- at the very least -- RIM and the Swedish vendor had a difference of interpretation over the terms of the auction and may have actually been presented with slightly different terms.

RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis had testified earlier that morning that his company had been presented with terms that included a clause that it would not be able to bid on any more Nortel assets until a year after the first auction.

This wasn't part of the terms that Ericsson beleived it was dealing under at all. "We know that it was not a condition," Ericsson Canada CEO Mark Henderson told the committee.

Next the committee grilled the Deputy Minister of Investment, Richard Dicerni. He said that his assistants will look into the discrepancy between Ericsson's and RIM's accounts next week.

Nonetheless, he did go out of his way to point out that RIM made a "business decision" not to participate in the auction and then later take up grievances it had with the court supervising the procedure.

"There were a couple of windows where RIM had the opportunity to challenge the process," Dicerni said. He said any questions about whether RIM had been unfairly blocked from bidding would have to be taken up with Ernst & Young International , "monitor" of the bankruptcy process.

The committee has now gone to discuss the testimony in closed session. If you need to get up to speed on the process, then please click-through the stories below:

— Neil Jung, Honorary Canadian Site Editor, Unstrung

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