Canada industry minister unsure what will happen to BlackBerry

OTTAWA, March 18 Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:53pm EDT

OTTAWA, March 18 (Reuters) - Canada's industry minister on Monday said he hoped BlackBerry would remain a national champion but added he did not know what would happen to the mobile device maker, given the "very aggressive" telecommunications sector.

"We never know what can happen but I've said - and I truly believe this - I hope BlackBerry will continue to be a Canadian champion in the world, that it grows organically," Christian Paradis told Reuters in an interview in his office.

He continued: "This is my opinion here but that being said, we don't know what might happen. The market is very aggressive. When you talk about the telecoms sector ... this is a very very aggressive sector."

The head of China's Lenovo Group Ltd told a French newspaper last week that the firm might consider an acquisition of BlackBerry at some point in the future.

Paradis said that if Lenovo did make a bid, the Canadian government could examine it using national security guidelines designed to block foreign governments from gaining control over crucial parts of the economy.

"As the Industry Minister I don't want to send a signal and I don't want it to look like I prejudged a deal or not," he added.

Industry analysts, noting the domestic furor caused when Chinese state-owned CNOOC Ltd last year made a bid for Canadian energy firm Nexen Inc, say it is highly unlikely Ottawa would allow BlackBerry to be sold to a Chinese firm.

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California state worker Albert Jagow (L) goes over his retirement options with Calpers Retirement Program Specialist JeanAnn Kirkpatrick at the Calpers regional office in Sacramento, California October 21, 2009. Calpers, the largest U.S. public pension fund, manages retirement benefits for more than 1.6 million people, with assets comparable in value to the entire GDP of Israel. The Calpers investment portfolio had a historic drop in value, going from a peak of $250 billion in the fall of 2007 to $167 billion in March 2009, a loss of about a third during that period. It is now around $200 billion. REUTERS/Max Whittaker   (UNITED STATES) - RTXPWOZ

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