And it’s not the first time Lenovo has hinted of a takeover
Takeover speculation sent shares in handset maker BlackBerry 14 per cent higher on Nasdaq last night [11th March 2013], despite analysts pouring cold water on the rumours. The surge in BlackBerry’s stock price came after Yang Yuanqing, CEO of giant Chinese PC maker Lenovo, told a newspaper that his company could be interested in buying the troubled Canadian manufacturer at some point in the future.
As word spread, BlackBerry’s share price jumped to just under $15, compared to a year low of just over $6.
Yuanqing went on to temper his remarks later by saying, “First I must analyse the market and understand the exact weight of this company.”
BlackBerry, formerly known as RIM and a one-time smartphone pioneer, has in recent years bled market share to Apple, Samsung and other makers whose handsets are powered by Google’s Android.
Although it is fighting back with its newly launched range of BB10 handsets.
One device, the Z10 touchscreen smartphone, is expected to go on sale in the US from next Friday [22nd March 2013], though many commentators believe the company has left it too late to make any real dent in the marketplace.
But BlackBerry still has a vast library of valuable patents and, though analysts feel an acquisition by Lenovo is unlikely, it’s not the first time the Chinese giant has hinted at a purchase.
In January this year [see here] a similar sentiment was expressed by the company’s financial chief Wong Wai Ming who, while attending the World Economic forum in Davos.
He told Bloomberg that his firm had a team working on acquisitions, that they had spoken to RIM about various strategic alliances, and implying that an outright purchase might be possible.
That remark sent RIM’s shares up by 2.3 per cent then, though Wong later backtracked by saying that Lenovo was looking at acquisitions opportunities in general and not buying RIM specifically.
If Lenovo, which has its operational headquarters in North Carolina, did want to take over RIM – now BlackBerry – it could face major regulatory problems, however.
Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is already on record as saying that a Lenovo-BlackBerry deal is something the Canadian government “would look at carefully,” given the importance of the Toronto manufacturer to the local economy.
A spokesman for Lenovo in Canada also downplayed its CEO’s comment, saying, “In no way was this an indication of activity or strategic direction.”
BlackBerry shares ended the day up 14.1 percent at $14.90 on Nasdaq last night, while the Toronto-listed shares closed up 13.8 percent at C$15.29.