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.