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Friday, 22 November 2013 10:10

AIMco explains why Blackberry was not a starter

Written by Nick Farrell



No cunning plan

Canada’s pension funds have been explaining why they did not rush to pour cash into the troubled Blackberry mobile phone maker.

Leo de Bever, chief executive of the Alberta Investment Management Corp (AIMCo), said all of Canada's biggest pension funds were involved in discussions over BlackBerry's fate but it decided that it would be better to put the money on a horse. De Bever said AIMCo was never presented with a business plan that would have justified an investment in the company. He said there were six or seven entities darting in and out with various cunning plans but there was never a unified business plan to say 'Okay, this is what we need to do'."

Blackberry gave up trying to sell itself earlier this month after holding discussions with Microsoft, Apple, Google and really anyone else. Instead, the company opted to replace its CEO and borrow $1 billion from a group of investors including its top shareholder Fairfax Financial Holdings, Canso Investment Counsel, Mackenzie Financial, Markel Corp, Qatar Holding, Brookfield Asset Management, and Manulife Financial. De Bever said that Blackberry might have raised a billion dollars but it has no idea what it is going to do with it.

De Bever added that BlackBerry has lots of value in its assets that could be better developed, including its patent portfolio, real estate and cash. But he adds that while he is rooting for the company to do well, AIMCo will not invest in the company until it can again demonstrate it has a plan to save itself.

Nick Farrell

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