Lenovo Reignites Interest In BlackBerry – Report

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Lenovo is considering another move for BlackBerry as part of ongoing mobile push, claim reports

Lenovo has reportedly reignited its interest in acquiring BlackBerry, almost a year after the Chinese firm’s initial advances were thwarted by the Canadian government’s concerns that such a takeover would be a threat to national security.

According to Benzinga, Lenovo could make a bid for BlackBerry as early as this week, leading to a jump in the share price of the Canadian manufacturer, which has enjoyed a modest revival since shelving plans to sell itself last November.

Lenovo is one of the biggest smartphone manufacturers in the world, but this lofty position owes much to success in its homeland, with sales elsewhere limited.

BlackBerry Lenovo sale

BlackBerry Assistant PassportThe company, which bought IBM’s PC division in 2005, is looking to boost its mobile presence both at home and abroad with the formation of a smart devices and services unit, which will launch in April under a separate brand.

It also agreed a deal to purchase Motorola Mobility from Google for £1.76 billion in January, but any takeover of BlackBerry would arguably be its most significant acquisition of a major Western company and it would provide a significant boost in brand awareness and product range.

BlackBerry first announced its intention to find a buyer last year, but this was eventually scrapped in favour of a refinancing deal with shareholders. Lenovo was reported to be very interested but the Canadian government felt it could not let a company deeply tied into Canada’s telecoms infrastructure fall into Chinese hands.

Government concerns

The US is likely to have similar concerns given that BlackBerry devices are used by a high proportion of government officials, including President Barack Obama.

Canada has the power to veto any takeover it feels is not in the economic or security interests of the country, but it has been suggested a sale of the devices unit only, rather than the services division, might be more agreeable to authorities in Ottawa.

BlackBerry was once the market leader in high-end smartphones, but has seen its share eroded significantly by the likes of Apple and Android manufacturers in recent years. It is currently embarking on a restructuring plan centred on management, messaging and security services, QNX-embedded systems and high-end smartphones for businesses.

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