“We are looking at all opportunities – RIM and
many others. We’ll have no hesitation if the right
opportunity comes along.”-Wong Wai Ming, CFO,
Lenovo
Less than a week before RIM is expected to
introduce the BlackBerry 10 OS, and its new
BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry X10 handsets
, it might have become the target of Chinese
handset manufacturer Lenovo. The latter’s CFO,
Wong Wai Ming, said that the company has had
talks with RIM’s bankers and the Canadian firm
itself to discuss strategic alliances and various
combinations. The executive was speaking at
the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in
Davos, Switzerland.
But a Lenovo spokesman said that Wong was
responding to a question posed by a journalist
and was giving a response about Lenovo’s broad
M&A strategy. RIM has captured the attention
of the smartphone industry as leaked videos show
the new BlackBerry Z10 holding its own against
the Apple iPhone 5
. But even with the stock nearly tripling off of its
lows, RIM CEO Thorsten Heins says that RIM would
consider selling the hardware division and
licensing its software
.
RIM’s CEO earlier this week also said that RIM
would consider a strategic alliance, even after the
January 30th unveiling of BlackBerry 10. Any deal
for the entire company would face regulatory
battles in Canada where the Prime Minister has
called the company a national “crown jewel,” and
Canada’s Industry Minister Christian Paradis said
that even a sale of the handset business could
lead to a review before a deal was closed. A
Lenovo deal for RIM would probably face U.S.
regulatory review as well, since some government
agencies in the U.S. still rely on the security of
BlackBerry phones.
At least one analyst says that this talk of a
Lenovo-RIM merger is all rubbish. “Anybody who’s
serious about buying a company doesn’t go
talking it up… It sounds to me like a comment
made more for publicity’s sake than a serious
approach for RIM,” said Charter Equity analyst Ed
Snyder. “It is a very long shot at the best.”
“A potential acquisition of RIM by Lenovo would
raise a number of important security issues.
Government employees are one of the largest
users of RIM’s BlackBerry products and the
security of their communications has to be of
paramount concern-Michael Wessel,
Commissioner, U.S.-China Economic and Security
Review Commission

TechWrapZA

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