Didn’t mean it, he says, after shares in Canadian phone maker shoot up
Chinese electronics giant Lenovo is playing down reports that it is planning a takeover bid for RIM, a rumour that pushed the Canadian manufacturer’s shares up by 2.3 per cent last week, adding to earlier gains brought on by excitement surrounding the launch of its long-awaited BlackBerry 10 devices on Wednesday [30th January 2013].
Speaking at the World Economic forum in Davos on Thursday, Lenovo’s financial chief Wong Wai Ming told Bloomberg that his firm had a team working on acquisitions and that they had spoken to RIM and its bankers about various strategic alliances, implying that an outright purchase might be possible.
But now Wong has backtracked, saying that it is looking at acquisitions opportunities in general and that his remarks shouldn’t be taken as suggesting that Lenovo definitely wanted to buy RIM.
Wong’s volte face had shades of similar remarks made recently by Lowell McAdam, CEO of Verizon Communication, whose chance remarks about acquiring Vodafone’s 45 per cent stake in their joint US venture sent the UK carrier’s stock soaring, making a deal less probable if it was to be achieved on a partial share swap basis.
Like Wong, the Verizon boss then had to retract his remarks.
If Lenovo, which has its operational headquarters in North Carolina, did want to take over RIM it could face major regulatory problems, however.
Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is already on record as that a Lenovo-RIM deal is something the government “would look at carefully,” given the importance of the Toronto manufacturer to the local economy.
The government has also blocked other proposals by foreign firms to acquire Canadian assets in the past as counter to the national interest.