Report: Canadian gov't blocked BlackBerry, Lenovo deal

UPDATED: BlackBerry declined to comment.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor on

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.

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