A new poll of Canadians has found that the country's citizens want the federal government in Ottawa to block the sale of Nortel Networks' CDMA/LTE unit to Sweden's Ericsson.
Canadian market researcher Strategic Counsel surveyed 1,000 Canadians and found that 73% of the respondents want Nortel technology to remain in Canada.
Ericsson bid $1.13 billion for the prized Nortel unit, and its offer was much higher than the only other bid -- a $650 million offer made by Nokia Siemens Networks. Research In Motion, headquartered in Ontario like Nortel, has urged Ottawa to block the sale on national security grounds.
The sale to Ericsson, however, is proceeding apace and Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said he won't block the deal.
RIM, which didn't participate in the bidding for the Nortel unit, has tried to drum up support for blocking the sale. RIM is believed to be interested in acquiring some of the valuable intellectual property -- including LTE patents -- that are owned by Nortel.
The Strategic Counsel poll, which was conducted for RIM, found also that 55% of the respondents opposed an outcome in which the federal government would do nothing about the sale of the Nortel assets to Ericsson. About 16% of those polled favored no federal intervention while 27% favored awarding the unit to the highest bidder.
Ericsson executives have noted that it submitted the highest bid for the Nortel unit and, in addition, Ericsson has had a major presence as an employer and provider of telecommunications infrastructure in Canada for years.
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