Report: Canadian gov't blocked BlackBerry, Lenovo deal

Report: Canadian gov't blocked BlackBerry, Lenovo deal

Summary: UPDATED: BlackBerry declined to comment.

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Before BlackBerry threw a wrench in things once again yesterday, there were numerous other tech companies being mentioned here and there as potential bidders for the beleaguered phone maker.

Chief among them was the world's top PC vendor: Lenovo. Turns out that deal had possibly the most potential of actually going through -- that is until federal regulators stepped in.

According to the venerable Canadian news source The Globe and Mail, the Canadian government blocked any potential deal between BlackBerry and Lenovo over "national security concerns."

Here's more:

Ottawa made it clear in high-level discussions with BlackBerry that it would not approve a Chinese company buying a company deeply tied into Canada’s telecom infrastructure, sources said. The government made its position known over the last one to two months. Because Ottawa made it clear such a transaction would not fly, it never formally received a proposal from BlackBerry that envisioned Lenovo acquiring a stake, sources said.

To recall, ever since the company formerly known as Research In Motion put itself on the market in August, which was followed by a preliminary $4.7 billion buyout deal with Fairfax Financial Holdings in September, plenty of entities were rumored to have come out of the woodwork, wanting a piece of the BlackBerry pie.

Some of the stories that appeared to hold more weight included Facebook, constantly on the prowl for all things mobile these days, as well as a joint deal between chip maker Qualcomm and private investment firm Cerberus.

Lenovo's name actually popped up earlier in the mix in October, with the Wall Street Journal reporting at the time that the Chinese PC company has signed a non-disclosure agreement to look at the smartphone maker's books.

However, it looks like none of this is going to come to pass now that BlackBerry has gone back to the drawing board on its own, leaving all bidders (as well as now former CEO Thorsten Heins) at the door.

Instead, BlackBerry is going to continue to plug away on its own with a new CEO, former Sybase chief John Chen, onboard with plans to raise approximately $1 billion to save the company. Chen also affirmed on Monday that BlackBerry won't be giving up on its smartphone unit yet either.

ZDNet has reached out to BlackBerry for comment, and we will update this story when we hear back.

UPDATE: A BlackBerry spokesperson replied that the company does not comment on industry speculation.

Topics: Mobility, Government, Lenovo, BlackBerry, Smartphones

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10 comments
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  • i guess no blackberry is better than some blackberry in their view

    The Canadian government has secrets? I bet they know where big foot is :-)
    greywolf7
    • Doesn't matter. If they let it happen every govt

      and enterprise customer would have dropped BB like a rock anyway. Now they'll just continue the ongoing execution of their current gradual migration off BB.
      Johnny Vegas
  • Big foot's in Louisiana

    Sasquatch, on the other hand...
    William.Farrel
  • Wow

    Any losses incurred by BlackBerry as well as its employees, stockholders and bondholders,, after this Canadian government interference, should be reimbursed in full by the Canadian government (meaning the Canadian taxpayer).
    Rabid Howler Monkey
    • lol

      Yeah right. So if a government blocks a business deal over National security concerns it should reimburse people. shouldn't and will never happen
      striker67
      • If a government blocks a busness transaction over national security

        It's presumably for the benefit of the entirety of the citizenry. Any losses to the business in question that result from the government's decision should be reimbursed by same citizenry through the government. **IF, AND ONLY IF** the transaction in question falls outside of existing export controls embodied in statute.

        It would be interesting to hear from an informed Canadian whether or not this business transaction, the sale of BlackBerry to the Lenovo Group, clearly mapped to existing export controls.
        Rabid Howler Monkey
  • Not surprising

    I wouldn't trust a corporation based in a totalitarian state either (too easy to send the CEO or his family members to a labor camp for non-cooperation).
    John L. Ries
  • It wasn't the Canadian government

    It was the NSA, again.

    Do you have any idea how many US government people of all types have Blackberrys? The G&M got its story wrong because it was told not to print the truth,
    bart001fr
  • Rachel

    That was a nice tidbit, but I strongly suggest you do an in-depth research into this thing and find the REAL truth behind this. Mr. Harper, the PM is ready and willing top sell Canada by the pound so he would never have blocked the deal.
    bart001fr
    • RE: Selling Canada to China by the pound

      I also believe it was the NSA.

      Harper has been oh so willing to allow resources and resource companies to be sold to the Chinese, as well as attempting to force through a pipeline for tar sands product to a BC port despite the strong disapproval of BC residents.

      http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/how-little-leaks-can-become-big-oil-spills/article4418229/
      http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2012/07/23/Alarmist-Why-Thanks/
      http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2012/08/06/Mair-On-Clarks-Conditions/
      http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2013/10/28/BC-Power-Northern-Gateway/
      Marc Erickson