Ottawa rejects space firm's sale to U.S.
OTTAWA — Federal Industry Minister Jim Prentice confirmed Thursday morning that he has taken the unprecedented step of rejecting the planned $1.3-billion sale of Canada's leading space company to U.S. interests, concluding that the deal would not be in the best interests of the country.
Mr. Prentice's office issued a brief statement acknowledging that, as The Globe and Mail reported, he wrote to Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK) on April 8, to advise them that, "based on the information received at this time, he is not satisfied that the proposed sale of MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA) to ATK is likely to be of net benefit to Canada."
Under Canada's investment-review law, the company has 30 days to make new arguments to the minister, and Mr. Prentice must then confirm his rejection. But Mr. Prentice's move signals his intention to take the unprecedented step of blocking a major corporate takeover, in an issue that has been fraught with controversy as opponents argued that the sale of MDA could impair Canadian sovereignty.
I'm still suspicious, especially when Alliant is feigning ignorance of the minister's decision, but with the amount of public scrutiny on this it would be virtually impossible for Prentice to let the deal go through at this point.