Lenovo Group Limited (PINK:LNVGY) (HKG:0992) confirms its interest in a buyout deal with BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Limited (NASDAQ:RIMM) (TSE:RIM) as part of its strategic move to become the world’s largest PC maker.
“We are looking at all opportunities — RIM and many others,” Chief Financial Officer of Lenovo, Wong Wai Ming said yesterday in an interview at the World Economic Forum’s meeting in Davos, Switzerland. “We’ll have no hesitation if the right opportunity comes along that could benefit us and shareholders.”
Interestingly, the news came less than a week before Research In Motion Limited (NASDAQ:RIMM) (TSE:RIM) is set to introduce the single most important product in its history, BlackBerry 10.
Lenovo Group Limited (PINK:LNVGY) (HKG:0992), that started its operation in the space of personal computers by acquiring IBM’s PC division, is likely to face hurdles if it attempts to buy out a company that was once titled as a national ‘crown jewel’ by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Canada has previously blocked foreign takeovers of local companies because of security issues. RIM CEO Thorsten Heins also said that the company has pulled back from expanding its China operations because of concerns over protecting its sensitive networks.
There is a strong likelihood that the deal could be halted if it is seen to potentially “harm Canadian interests or threaten the country’s national security”
In the light of these restrictions, cybersecurity experts believe that the Chinese company would also encounter tough regulatory scrutiny in Washington.
Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said the government would closely examine any deal between Chinese computer maker and the Black Berry maker.
“It’s something that we would look carefully at,” said Flaherty in an interview at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland today
“A potential acquisition of RIM by Lenovo would raise a number of important security issues,” said Michael Wessel, a Commissioner on the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, appointed by Congress.
This is not however the first time speculations of a Research In Motion Limited (NASDAQ:RIMM) (TSE:RIM) takeover had swirled through the market. Other rumored suitors for RIM over the past two years have included Amazon back in 2011, and Samsung.
This time, however, Research In Motion Limited (USA) (NASDAQ:RIMM) (TSE:RIM) has said that it was considering a bid among other options for expanding its mobile-devices business, after losing market share to Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930).
It is in important to highlight that earlier this week, RIM CEO Thorsten Heins said the company is open to the idea of licensing BlackBerry 10 or even selling off the company’s handset division if the launch is a succes.
Lenovo Group Limited’s (PINK:LNVGY) (HKG:0992) shares fell 2.73 percent in Hong Kong during Friday trade, after closing 6.6 percent higher in the previous session.
The BlackBerry 10 launch event is still set for January 30. RIM could not have asked for a better setup. Muted CES smartphone news, a lack of Mobile World Congress buzz, and the pullback in Apple shares – the stage is set. Given the amount of speculation and leaks, some wonder what if any surprises could be in store – app announcements/content deals could have the biggest impact.