Research In Motion Stories January 14, 2015

Samsung rumored to be making a ~$7.5B offer to buy BlackBerry…for its patents

Update: BlackBerry is denying the story:

BlackBerry Limited (NASDAQ:BBRY)(TSX:BB) (“BlackBerry”) is aware of certain press reports published today with respect to a possible offer by Samsung to purchase BlackBerry. BlackBerry has not engaged in discussions with Samsung with respect to any possible offer to purchase BlackBerry. BlackBerry’s policy is not to comment on rumors or speculation, and accordingly it does not intend to comment further.

Samsung approached BlackBerry regarding a possible takeover of the company for as high as $7.5 billion, according to a report from Reuters (via CNBC)BlackBerry stock has jumped 16% following the report.

Blackberry stock skyrocketed Wednesday afternoon after a report that the device maker had been approached by Samsung about a potential takeover… At its high, Blackberry was up more than 21 percent… South Korea’s Samsung proposed an initial price range of $13.35 to $15.49 per share, which represents a premium of 38 percent to 60 percent over BlackBerry’s current trading price, the source said.

The report says executives from Samsung and BlackBerry met last week regarding the possible takeover, but both companies declined to offer a statement to Reuters for the story. The buy would be mostly for access to the patent treasure trove according to the GlobeandMail. 

Smartphone company Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. has recently approached BlackBerry Ltd to buy the company for as much as $7.5-billion, looking to gain access to its patent portfolio, according to a person familiar with the matter and documents seen by Reuters. South Korea’s Samsung proposed an initial price range of $13.35 to $15.49 per share, which represents a premium of 38 per-cent to 60 per-cent over BlackBerry’s current trading price, the source said.

Recently Samsung announced a partnership with BlackBerry in an attempt to push its Knox security services and mobile devices to enterprise customers, and it’s likely Samsung would be after BlackBerry’s patents and presence in the enterprise. The companies announced in November that the partnership would include bringing BlackBerry’s BES12 platform to Samsung Galaxy devices equipped with Knox. 

BlackBerry currently develops its enterprise platforms and BBM messaging services for both iOS and Android, but what an acquisition might mean for support on non-Samsung devices remains to be seen.

Research In Motion Stories June 6, 2013

BlackBerry’s BBM apps for iOS and Android arriving June 27?

Update: T-Mobile has now removed its original tweet.

According to a tweet from T-Mobile UK’s Twitter account, the previously announced BlackBerry Messenger service will be arriving on both Android and iOS later this month on June 27. A release date for the BBM service, which will arrive for the first time on iOS and Android as a free download, has not officially been announced by BlackBerry, but the tweet from T-Mobile is a pretty good indication on when we will see the service begin to roll out. However, a report from BusinessInsider later claimed that the date is incorrect based on a source close to the situation. We’ll have to wait for official confirmation from BlackBerry to find out for sure, but BlackBerry told us last night it hasn’t yet made an announcement:

BlackBerry first announced the service was coming to iOS and Android at its event last month. The company said that it would be bringing messaging and groups functionality to new platforms first, but also has plans to introduce voice features, screen sharing, and its just announced ”social engagement platform” dubbed ‘Channels’ in future releases.

Research In Motion Stories January 21, 2013

iPhone 5 compared to upcoming BlackBerry Z10 smartphone on video

German-language blog telekom-presse.at posted images and video of BlackBerry’s upcoming Z10 smartphone today said to be running a beta of BB 10. In the video (and images below), the site compared the new 4.2-inch BlackBerry to the slightly smaller and thinner iPhone 5. The Z10 is expected to officially launch at RIM’s upcoming BlackBerry event on Jan. 30 and is rumored to be priced under the iPhone 5’s $199 price tag.

Research In Motion Stories January 10, 2013

Adam_Carolla_Pictures

In July 2011, a federal jury in Texas awarded “patent licensing company” Personal Audio LLC $8 million in its patent infringement lawsuit against Apple. The jury found Apple infringed two valid patents related to downloadable playlists with its iOS devices as far back as the original iPod. One covered an “audio program player including a dynamic program selection controller,” while the other covered an “audio program distribution and playback system.” 9to5Mac has now learned Personal Audio LLC is attempting to target content creators directly, starting with a new patent infringement case in Texas against one of iTunes biggest podcasters, Adam Carolla’s Ace Broadcasting.

If the outcome of the case is anything like Personal Audio’s previous cases, it could have a major impact on podcasters and other content creators on iTunes and elsewhere. Personal Audio also sued and entered licensing agreements with Sirius XM Radio, Archos, Coby, RIM, Samsung, Amazon, and Motorola related to its downloadable playlist patents and others.

The new patent, issued just last year on Feb. 7, 2012, is quite broad and describes a “System for Disseminating Media Content Representing Episodes in a Serialized Sequence.” Personal Audio is also suing the popular Howstuffworks.com series, which like Ace Broadcasting, is a large podcasting presence on iTunes and across the web…

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Research In Motion Stories January 3, 2013

ComScore Nov 2012 platform

According to the latest numbers from comScore MobiLens for the United States mobile phone market, Apple and Samsung both continue to gain marketshare as the leading OEMs as Android and iOS move closer toward a duopoly with a combined almost 90 percent of the market. ComScore’s latest numbers track the three-month period ending in November, which saw Apple jump from 17.1-percent in August to 18.5-percent of the U.S. mobile phone market. Samsung continued its lead jumping up 1.2-percent to 26.9-percent, while gains for both companies come at the expense of decreases in market share for LG, Motorola, and HTC.

ComScore Nov 2012 OEMsAs for the U.S. market by platform, iOS and Android both experience slight gains over August numbers. With a joint 88.7-percent of the market for Apple and Google, RIM is the closest competitor dropping from 8.3-percent of the market in August to just 7.3-percent in November. Microsoft dropped from 3.6-percent to 3 percent:

In November, 75.9 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers used text messaging on their mobile device (up 0.3 percentage points). Downloaded applications were used by 54.2 percent of subscribers (up 0.8 percentage points), while browsers were used by 52.1 percent (up 0.1 percentage points). Accessing of social networking sites or blogs increased 0.9 percentage points to 39.2 percent of mobile subscribers. Game-playing was done by 33.7 percent of the mobile audience, while 28.7 percent listened to music on their phones (up 0.4 percentage points).

Research In Motion Stories November 21, 2012

Following the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency announcing it would end its contract with RIM and purchase $2.1 million worth of iPhones, Bloomberg reported today that the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board will also make the switch. The agency said in a notice posted to its website that BlackBerrys have been “failing both at inopportune times and at an unacceptable rate” while announcing plans to purchase iPhone 5’s as replacements:

The National Transportation Safety Board, which investigates plane accidents, disclosed its plan to switch to Apple Inc.’s iPhone 5 in a document posted last week to a federal website. The BlackBerrys have been “failing both at inopportune times and at an unacceptable rate,” according to the NTSB’s notice.

While the agency only has about 400 employees, last month’s announcement from the U.S. Immigration and Customs agency means RIM will lose additional 17,600 government employees to the iPhone in the near future. According to the document posted by the Transportation Safety Board, the agency “requires effective, reliable and stable communication capabilities to carry out its primary investigative mission and to ensure employee safety in remote locations.” RIM, however, is still counting on many government customers to upgrade to BlackBerry 10… expand full story

Research In Motion Stories October 29, 2012

In December, we heard reports that the Pentagon had officially certified an Android device and Android 2.2 for use on Defense Department networks. According to a report from The Washington Postciting a recent document posted by the Defense Department, the Pentagon is hiring contractors to securely manage a combination of at least 162,500 iOS and Android devices. The document also noted the project could expand up to 8 million mobile devices: expand full story

Research In Motion Stories October 22, 2012

US Immigration and Customs Agency switching 17,600 employees from BlackBerry to iPhone

Reuters reported today that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency is ending its contract with RIM and purchasing $2.1 million worth of iPhones for its 17,600 employees:

The agency said it has relied on RIM for eight years but that RIM’s technology “can no longer meet the mobile technology needs of the agency” 

The agency said the iPhone will be used by a “variety of agency personnel, including, but not limited to, Homeland Security Investigations, Enforcement and Removal Operations, and Office of the Principal Legal Advisor employees”.

“The iPhone services will allow these individuals to leverage reliable, mobile technology on a secure and manageable platform in furtherance of the agency’s mission,” ICE said in the document.

Research In Motion Stories October 2, 2012

Apple jumps to No. 2 on Interbrand’s 2012 Best Global Brands Report

While still behind Coca-Cola, which retained its No. 1 spot from last year’s report, Apple is one of Interbrand’s top risers as the No. 2 brand in its 2012 Best Global Brands Report. Apple sits just above IBM, Google, and Microsoft with a brand value of $76, 568 million—up 129 percent from last year’s study. You can see a full list of brands that made this year’s top 100 list here and a chart of Apple’s growth below:

Research In Motion Stories August 1, 2012

ComScore: Ahead of iPhone refresh, Apple outgrew Android and the iPhone took market share from Samsung, Motorola and LG

Today’s comScore report measured the U.S. phone landscape from March to June with some surprising surges from Apple noted. Apple was the only manufacturer to gain market share in the overall handset business by growing 1.4-points in the three months. This is particularly notable because Apple’s iPhone is expected to get refreshed in September.

Additionally, iOS outgrew Android in the three-month span from 1.7-points to 0.6-points (see chart below). The gains by both OSes to a whopping 84 percent of all smartphones measured were at the expense of Microsoft, RIM, and Symbian. On the changes, comScore said:

Research In Motion Stories June 24, 2012

RIM to be split into handset and services, sold off piecemeal?

TheVerge reads behind the Sunday Times’ firewall:

The Sunday Times reports today that RIM is considering a plan to split its handset division and messaging network into two separate companies, and will sell off the struggling BlackBerry hardware business. The British paper doesn’t cite any sources in the report, but it says that Facebook and Amazon are both “potential buyers.” As part of this plan, RIM could keep its enterprise-friendly messaging and data network (including BBM and BIS) in-house and license them out.

BBM and BES only run on Blackberry now, and that platform will have a market share heading toward zero by the time RIM gets all of this organizational structure sorted. So keeping that a separate business makes little sense.

The other option is selling out piecemeal to Microsoft for parts and people. I imagine that by then, the price of RIM will get so low, even Apple and Google would be interested in picking up the parts (patents, people, and tech). Microsoft is probably already lining up some cash to buy the remnants of Nokia as well, so it is less likely to pick up RIM (although it made several attempts to pick up RIM in the past).

Moreover, RIM’s QNX/Blackberry 10 might have some value for companies like Dell, HP (which recently fumbled WebOS), Lenovo, Toshiba, Acer, or ASUS due to Microsoft now building its own tablets and scaring OEMs.

That split could also see Cisco or Oracle taking the backend stuff.

Any way you look at it, on the fifth anniversary of iPhone, Blackberry —as we knew it— is almost over.

Research In Motion Stories June 18, 2012

Ex-AT&T employee leaked Apple (and RIM) sales numbers to traders

In case you ever thought the U.S. stock market is an even playing field:

“I provided insider information concerning AT&T’s sales of Apple’s iPhone and RIM’s (Research In Motion Ltd) Blackberry products, as well as other handset set devices sold through AT&T distribution channels,” Ebrahim told U.S. District Judge Paul Oetken in Manhattan.

AT&T’s Marty Richter said:

“We took this matter very seriously and cooperated fully with the authorities,” said AT&T spokesman Marty Richtman. “The conduct alleged was clearly against our code of business conduct, and Mr. Ebrahim is no longer an AT&T employee.”

Research In Motion Stories May 14, 2012

BlackBerry 10’s predictive text keyboard comes to iOS with Octopus jailbreak tweak

The current auto-correct method on iOS is often a source of frustration for many users who simply do not find the process efficient. The feature’s predictive text functionality, allowing you to tap “space” to insert the currently suggested word, has proven to have a bigger learning curve for the average user than Apple may have anticipated. At least one developer thinks a method similar to BlackBerry 10’s new predictive typing feature would work better. There’s a new jailbreak tweak called “Octopus Keyboard” that brings similar functionality to iOS users, which allows them to swipe up to select and insert suggested words. It is still a work in progress, but you can check out the current build from developer Mario Hros in the video above.

Research In Motion Stories May 1, 2012

Following IDC’s report this morning that highlighted Apple’s continued growth among mobile phone marketshare worldwide, while coming second to Samsung in global smartphone marketshare, research firm comScore just released its numbers for United States mobile subscribers for the three-month period ending March 2012.

According to comScore, Apple posted impressive growth during the quarter with 30.7-percent marketshare among smartphone platforms in the U.S (up from 29.6-percent). Increasing from 47.3-percent in December 2011 to 51 percent in March 2012, Android was able to grab the top position for platforms during the quarter. Growth for Android and iOS continues to come at the expense of RIM. The company grabbed just 12.3-percent of the platform market in March, which is down from 16 percent in December 2011. Microsoft also lost marketshare with 3.9-percent, which is down from 4.7-percent… expand full story

Research In Motion Stories February 9, 2012

The United States’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (via The Loop) is turning the tide in its IT department. Doing what many companies are doing these days, NOAA plans to ditch RIM’s BlackBerry in favor of Apple’s iPhone and iPad. NOAA’s support for the BlackBerry will end May 12, 2012, according to a memo sent to CIO Joseph F. Klimavicz. NOAA did not give a time frame for the roll out.

This is a broader move in the “consumerization” of IT.  Apple makes very little effort to woo IT departments, instead making products that consumers want to bring to work (Read: the CxOs want iPhones).  Coupled with the crashing market share and outlook for RIM, smart IT departments are getting ahead of the curve by moving to iOS.

Oil company Halliburton is also making similar moves over the next two years by dumping the BlackBerry platform and moving to the iPhone. In an internal memo, Halliburton said after “significant research,” the iPhone is more favorable than Android.

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Research In Motion Stories January 22, 2012

I think the Globe and Mail was the first to report that RIM’s beleaguered CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis are out – moved upstairs to the boardroom.  The strangest thing about the story, and really the past few years, is the total denial by the leadership that Blackberry is in a death spiral.

Research In Motion Ltd.’s new chief executive officer says the company is doing everything right and does not need a change in strategy, and must instead focus on harnessing its talent to improve the BlackBerry and revive sales.

“It’s a fantastic growth story and it’s not coming to an end,” Mr. Heins said in an interview with The Globe and Mail. “What you will see with me is rigour and flawless execution.”

When asked whether he thought the appointment of Ms. Stymiest as chair and himself as CEO would be enough to satisfy investors, Mr. Heins retorted, “Change to what? Change for what?”

He continued, “I mean, what’s the objective of a change? We’ve made a lot of changes in the past 18 months. Not changes, but also evolution. I changed a lot of my management team, in hardware, software … I’ve trained a lot of other people in the last four years. What do you think I did? … We didn’t stand still in the last 18 months, we did our homework. And I think we will complete our homework soon.”

Even in appointing a current co-COO, who looks even less charismatic than either of the two people he replaces (video below), RIM is hedging its bets on Blackberry 10/QNX, which it won’t release until the end of 2012 on phones —if it bucks recent trends and ships on time.  Heins joined RIM just as the iPhone was released in 2007, and he has seen the company’s market share dive.

RIM’s tablet effort, the Playbook, is barely selling and only when priced below cost.  It still somehow does not natively do email.

It is hard not to feel bad for the position this once great company is now in.

(Making it easier, RIM has scheduled an 8am ET Monday conference call with the press on the details. Press release follows) expand full story

Research In Motion Stories January 9, 2012

According to the latest ChangeWave Research survey posted Monday, both Apple and Samsung are enjoying “explosive momentum” as 2012 begins while other handset makers are struggling to win the hearts of minds of consumers, such as Canada-based Research In Motion, which today updated its struggling BlackBerry platform with new software features, and Taiwan-based HTC, which posted a 26 percent income drop today —its first quarterly profit decline in two years.

Based on data obtained from 4,000 North American consumers, 54 percent of respondents planning to buy a smartphone in the next 90 days will opt for an iPhone. This is a drop from 65 percent last quarter, but more than enough to keep the coveted title of the most sought-after device. The iPhone’s “industry leading” customer satisfaction remains off the chart at 75 percent by vendor and mobile OS each (3 in 4 iPhone owners said they are ‘Very Satisfied’ with their device). Google’s Android is second with 47 percent mobile OS satisfaction rating and Samsung and HTC are at 47 percent each…

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Research In Motion Stories December 20, 2011

Analytics firm Millennial Media, the second-largest mobile advertising platform behind Google, on Tuesday, released its monthly Mobile Mix report for November. Similar to their October survey that saw Android’s growth slowing (and iOS gaining). Compared to the summer period for November, both Apple’s and Research in Motion’s respective platform grew at the expense of Google. Specifically, Android went from 56 percent ad requests in October to 50 percent in November.

Meanwhile, iOS went from 28 percent ad requests in October to 30 percent in November. The BlackBerry platform recorded the biggest gain of all mobile platforms, increasing its share of ad requests from 13 percent in October to 17 percent in November. Because both iOS and BlackBerry grew their combined ad impressions by six percentage points, the same amount Android lost in the period, it is safe to assume that Apple and Research In Motion gained traction at the expense of Google’s mobile platform.

The findings are in stark contrast to the seemingly unstoppable Android growth that appears to have slowed down during the crucial holiday sales period. Android in November doubled iOS in ad impressions, but last month – its respective share changed to 50 percent for Android versus 30 percent for iOS. The Kindle Fire vs. iPad adoption figures and more info graphic charts are available below.

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Research In Motion Stories September 16, 2011

“Is 2011 going to be the year of copycats?”, Apple’s then chief executive rhetorically asked at the March iPad 2 introduction in San Francisco. Really, the title of this article couldn’t be more true. iPad is now stealing market share from Android, climbing from 65.7 percent share to 68.3 percent globally as Android slipped from 34.0 percent to 26.8 percent. HP exited the game, having retired its TouchPad and today lackluster sales of RIM’s PlayBook tablet made the news.

Apple decimated competition so thoroughly that analysts are saying the company can take its time releasing a third-generation iPad. According to J.P. Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz, Apple should be in “no rush” with iPad 3:

Our latest research continues to indicate that there is no such device slated for production this year. In our view, Apple should be in no rush. The other tablet entrants have stumbled so far, and that trend-line could persist deep into 2012.

He also wasn’t impressed by Sony’s tablet which “lacks the refined, sleek feel of the iPad and its bezel-like back is not user-friendly”. And Research In Motion’s BlackBerry PlayBook tablet? On a downward spiral and probably due for life support. Per RIM’s quarterly filing, they shipped only 200,000 PlayBooks in the quarter, a paltry number compared to Wall Street expectations of 700,000 units. RIM refused to reveal actual sell-through as it is no doubt significantly lower than the sell-in. Ticonderoga analyst Brian White weighs in:

We believe the PlayBook is poised to follow HP’s TouchPad as the next casualty of iPad’s tablet dominance

To put PlayBook sales into perspective, RIM shipped one PlayBook to every 46 iPads. With just 200,000 units, PlayBook may very well be heading to the technology graveyard. BlackBerry phones are also shrinking due to “lower than expected sales for older models”. One fifth of RIM’s stock valuation was wiped out today as a result of poor tablet and smartphone performance. By the way, RIM’s global market share is now dropping to single digits. Did the Waterloo, Ontario company learn a valuable lesson?

Many watchers have written off the PlayBook, but RIM has bigger worries on its mind: Its smartphone business is declining and global market share dropping to single digits. Chart courtesy of Asymco.

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Research In Motion Stories September 13, 2011

Today was Microsoft’s Windows Tablet 8 unveiling.  The product on the surface looks cool, people are hyped, but alas it will be a year before real products are given to real people.  The iPad 3 with its Retina Display will have been on the market for months and Google will have iterated 10,000 Beta releases of Android before then on 200 different pieces of tablet hardware.

On top of that, this new OS is really just smashing together Windows Phone 7 Metro UI Windowing (some admittedly nice UI features) with Windows 7 applications.  Real world use of Windows 7 apps in tablet form isn’t going to be fun.  I’ve tried using Windows on the Parallels iPad app – and it is OK in a pinch, but apps need to be redesigned 100% to work in tablet mode effectively.  Try entering data into Excel on a tablet for instance.  Then try Numbers on an iPad – it is slightly better.

Luckily, just about every iOS app was designed or redesigned first for touch over the past four years.  Microsoft is, today, telling its developers to do the same for their Windows apps.

How long can Microsoft keep up its “next year” strategy?  Windows 8 tablet isn’t the only thing coming “Next Year”.

Two years ago, Microsoft made the decision to scrap Windows Mobile and said: “Next year we’ll have Windows Phone 7”.  When Windows Phone didn’t grab much attention at the end of last year, Microsoft ‘bought Nokia’ and said, by the end of this year we’ll have some top quality phones from Nokia.  We’re waiting to see how that pans out, but by the time Nokia can produce anything with a Windows logo on it, it will have fallen from #1 in the world in smartphones to #4 or #5 behind Apple, Samsung and probably HTC and RIM.  But Windows Mango devices are coming to AT&T, have you heard?

How did this “wait until next year” thing become business as usual for Microsoft?   expand full story

Research In Motion Stories August 11, 2011

Gartner’s latest global smartphone numbers are out and if your name isn’t iOS or Android, the future looks pretty bleak.  While iOS continues to gain share at pace even without a new model release (up one point for the quarter and over 4 points year over year), the bigger story continues to be Android’s outright theft of marketshare from Symbian.  Just in the last quarter, 10 percent of the market shifted from Symbian to Android and for the year, the number is close to 20%

Meanwhile Blackberry continued its paced slide down another 2 points quarter over quarter while Samsung’s Bada made modest gains. In the “Other” category, Windows Phone 7 somehow lost market share falling from 2% to 1% and Windows Mobile is now off the charts.  HP’s webOS  is somewhere in the “other” as well with Meego and the ghosts of smartphone past.

Graph via PED, cross posted on 9to5Google.com expand full story

Research In Motion Stories August 2, 2011

In January of 2010, Kodak sued  Apple and RIM for infringing on their patent to preview photographs. The lawsuit is still going on, but today Wall Street Journal is reporting that Kodak is currently looking to sell 10% of their patent portfolio, which includes the patent Apple and RIM are bring sued for.

The 1,100 patents include patents covering  capturing, storing, organizing and sharing digital image. WSJ credits the sale to Kodak’s loss in profit over the last two quarters.

Chief Executive Antonio Perez has been using Kodak’s intellectual property as a means of funding the company’s long and expensive transformation. In 2008, Mr. Perez put forth a goal to generate between $250 million and $350 million a year from Kodak’s patent portfolio.

Google is fresh off acquiring 1,000 patents from IBM and is likely still in a buying mood as it battles everyone from Oracle to Microsoft to Apple-by-proxy in the courts.  Apple, who outbid Google for the Nortel patent portfolio at $4.5B  is obviously on the offensive.

Kodak’s decision to sell its patents follows a $4.5 billion patent sale by Nortel Networks Corp. Kodak has retained Lazard as an adviser for the sale. Lazard also advised Nortel on its sale.

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Research In Motion Stories July 5, 2011

Today’s comScore report shows that a full third of all US phone users are using a Smartphone and that is heading toward a majority pretty quickly.  Perhaps that is why (with a little help from Verizon) Apple was the biggest gainer in the overall phone market in the Feb-May quarter.  LG was up just slightly while Apple stole marketshare from Motorla and RIM.

I think it is important to keep in mind that Apple’s original iPhone goal was to capture 1% of the total phone market in the first year of release.   They’ve done that many times over and now Apple is capturing over 1% of the total US phone market per quarter. expand full story

Research In Motion Stories June 30, 2011

A consortium including Apple Inc, Microsoft, EMC Corp, Sony, Ericsson, and BlackBerry maker Research In Motion bought bankrupt telecommunications gear maker Nortel Networks Corp’s remaining portfolio of 6000 patents for $4.5 billion, in an auction that began early this week.

RIM reportedly paid $770 million, Ericsson paid $340 million.  It wasn’t immediately clear how much Apple paid.

Google had originally opened bidding with a $900 million bid.  The consortium of strange bedfellows will split up the portfolio based on the split of the purchase price.

The sale is subject to Canadian and U.S. court approvals which will be sought at a joint hearing expected to be held on July 11.  Full press release follows:

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