Report: Lenovo in talks to buy BlackBerry

Report: Lenovo in talks to buy BlackBerry

Summary: This isn't the first time that the Chinese PC maker has been in the mix as a potential buyer for the beleaguered Canadian phone maker.

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There's a new name being tossed into the mix of who's getting what in the ongoing BlackBerry sell-off -- and this is a big one.

Lenovo, the world's top PC vendor depending on which market research firm you trust most, is reportedly interested in taking a closer look at the beleaguered Canadian phone maker.

Limited details are available right now, but the Wall Street Journal said on Thursday that the Chinese PC company has signed a non-disclosure agreement to look at the smartphone maker's books.

However, the news (or at least the suspicion) shouldn't come as much of a surprise to anyone following the ongoing (albeit downhill) saga for BlackBerry.

Speculation arose earlier this year that Lenovo was interested in taking over the company formerly known as Research In Motion. Yet nothing concrete occurred beyond those reports.

Despite major marketing blitz for the BlackBerry Z10, a collapse seemed all but inevitable for BlackBerry in the face of Android and iOS (and slowly but surely, Windows Phone) conquering the global mobile market.

The Waterloo, Ontario-based operation put itself on the market in August, which was followed by a preliminary $4.7 billion buyout deal with Fairfax Financial Holdings in September.

Despite the possibility of being sold for parts, BlackBerry issued an open letter to customers and partners earlier this week, reassuring that it's "here to stay," asserting that the company has "substantial cash on hand and a balance sheet that is debt free."

Nevertheless, that $965 million second quarter loss reported in September along with the announcement of 4,500 jobs being cut probably didn't help reassure customers, analysts, and investors alike.

Topics: Mobility, Lenovo, BlackBerry, Smartphones, Tech Industry

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28 comments
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  • the US gov will block it

    trust the Chinese with your commercial secrets...and...
    too much encryption that can't be handled by the NSA....won't fly here!
    Oracle is the only buyer that makes sense, that can pull a deal like Palm .
    LlNUX Geek
    • LlNUX Geek: "the US gov will block it"

      Under what authority?

      o U.S. anti-trust law?
      o U.S. Treasury Department's Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS)?
      o other?

      More likely, the U.S. government, and possibly other western governments including Canada, will 'engineer' an acquisition by a 'friendly' company or group of companies.

      P.S. The U.S. government had no problem with IBM selling off its PC business to the Lenovo Group.
      Rabid Howler Monkey
      • True, but IBM wasn't selling them a secure phone mesaging system

        like blackberry, they sold them a hardware company, nothing more.
        William.Farrel
        • Remember that ThinkPads and ThinkCentre desktops are used in enterprises

          Do you believe that these PCs have no sensitive information on their hard drives or in their RAM?
          Rabid Howler Monkey
      • It's a Canadian company!

        What in the world does the US government have to say in this deal? Think for a minute!
        watchingtheworldgoround
        • Butt out

          The US should stay out of this matter. It would show they are anti business. Remember Unocal? Remember Huawei...all based on fear in old political men and not on facts.
          Bradish@...
    • The US Government CANNOT block the sale of a CANADIAN company ...

      ... to a CHINESE company.
      M Wagner
      • Depends ...

        When Oracle announced its acquisition plans for Sun, approval was required from a number of government entities:

        "Terms of the agreement between Oracle and Sun included dependencies on the antitrust laws of "the United States and Canada, European Union, China, Israel, Switzerland, Russia, Australia, Turkey, Korea, Japan, Mexico and South Africa"
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oracle_acquisition_of_Sun

        Thus, any one of these government entities could have blocked or, perhaps, attempted to block the acquisition of Sun by Oracle *on antitrust grounds*.

        However, with Lenovo and BlackBerry, antitrust would not appear to be a significant issue. Especially considering either company' mobile market share. In fact, Lenovo's acquisition of BlackBerry would actually enhance competition.
        Rabid Howler Monkey
      • No, but...

        ...the U.S. government could go to court to prevent the combined company from doing business in the U.S.
        John L. Ries
    • The US will block it?

      It's a CANADIAN company.
      radu.m
    • You're Almost Right

      Chances are that the Canadian Government would block the sale to a Chinese firm. The Canadian Government uses BB tech the same as the US gov't.

      There is legislation in Canada that allows the Government to block purchases of certain businesses from foreign buyers if it is not in the interests of Canada. They would likely use that legislation in this case.
      Alzie
  • Makes sense

    I always thought Lenovo or IBM made the most sense from an enterprise perspective. Since RIM is a Canadian company I'm not sure the US government can block the sale. They can however drop BB from their list of approved devices.
    2low_tech
  • Chinese ownership would cause government an corporate entites around the

    world to drop BB. Odrama would be the first to stop using his. Lenovo I'm sure would be factoring this into their bid. I predict it would be substantially less that the $4.7B offer that Fairfax is finding it can't generate enough interest in to get put together. Expect BB shares to take another large hit if Lenovo's bid comes in well below Fairfax's.
    Johnny Vegas
  • Here is my prediction

    If Lenovo is successful in acquiring blackberry then the chosen OS will be Windows Phone.

    Windows Phone is going to take over the enterprise mobile world and Lenovo could easily take a good share of it.
    Owl`Net
    • It's not a stretch of the imagination.

      Steve Ballmer already offered BB the right to load Windows 8 on its devices just prior to the release of the new BB operating system and was flatly rejected. That might have been the last lifeline that could have heaved them up out of failure.
      watchingtheworldgoround
      • Windows 8?! - please

        BB is failing because there is no good reason to buy its smartphones, keyboards are dying, their BB 10 start was so shy that was irrelevant.
        I don't see windows 8 being an hit for Nokia, even less for BB, there is another. failing company that sells 2 windows phone devices - HTC - we all know how many of those phones they are selling.
        AleMartin
  • Lenovo did well with IBM Thinkpad, should be able to preserve BB

    What is this Chinese bashing crap; stop the paranoia and racism; if European company buys BB, would you guys bash their country? Nokia went down the tubes thanks to Elop and MS, I don't hear American bashing.

    Please judge based on business merits. Lenovo did will with the IBM Thinkpad line, and we are blessed to still have Thinkpad like laptops available. Why would it seek to change BB too much, and not preserve what it can?

    Would you rather see BB as gone forever? Of course, with 4,500 layoffs, and other defections, probably most of the best talent would be gone.

    Many people just bash China for everything. Why? Racial Bigots? Ignorant? NSA does so much snooping around the world and on US citizens, and starting wars all over. This is just business.
    Backbutton
    • Actually, the ignorant one in this discussion, is YOU!!!!

      Whatever bashing China gets over the BB issue, has nothing at all to do with RACISM. Nothing!!!

      The basic and most important reason for the "bashing" is because of the possible security issues involved with China taking over a device and system which was known to have high security. If the Chinese were to take over such a system, I doubt that the U.S. government or any other government, would trust them with security. I would not trust the Chinese with anything that could be used to endanger the security of government and military and even business systems.

      So, why is it that the first thing you thought about was "racism" and not the other issues surrounding security and the distrust that the Chinese have won over the many decades that they've been a belligerent government and country?
      adornoe
      • Ummm...a little too late!

        If you're worried about computing security, then you're years too late. Just about every computer in the world is already made in China! They design the hardware, they design a lionshare of the software and what they don't design they have the code and load.
        watchingtheworldgoround
        • Yes, but...

          ...PC manufacturers (other than Apple) lose control of the hardware once it's sold. In the case of BB, the company owns the communications network.

          My recommendation would be that if this deal goes through, that Chinese citizens residing abroad (especially dissidents and Falun Gong practitioners), and Western government employees ditch their Blackberrys (President Obama might want to try out a 'droid).
          John L. Ries