Lenovo sees RIM as takeover option

Written by Reuters | Toronto | Updated: Jan 26 2013, 07:50am hrs
A senior Lenovo executive said on Thursday that the Chinese computer maker may consider Research in Motion (RIM) as a takeover target, sending the Blackberry makers shares up 2% just a week before it launches a make-or-break line of redesigned smartphones.

But Lenovo, which vaulted into the personal computer market with its 2005 purchase of IBMs PC division, would face formidable hurdles if it tried to buy a company that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper once described as a national crown jewel. The Chinese company would also encounter tough regulatory scrutiny in Washington, cybersecurity experts say.

Lenovo, on track to become the worlds largest PC maker, has held talks with RIM and its bankers about various combinations or strategic ventures, its chief financial officer, Wong Wai Ming, said on Thursday.

We are looking at all opportunities RIM and many others, Wong told Bloomberg in an interview at the World Economic Forums meeting. Well have no hesitation if the right opportunity comes along.

A spokesman for Lenovo said Wong was asked about RIM by the Bloomberg journalist and that Wong was speaking broadly about Lenovos M&A strategy.

RIM, once a pioneer in the smartphone industry, has struggled in recent years as its aging line-up of devices have ceded market share to Apple Incs iPhone and devices based on Google Incs Android operating system. RIM hopes its new touch-screen and keyboard devices, powered by its new BlackBerry 10 operating system, will help it claw back some of the lost ground. Optimism surrounding the launch has powered the stock higher in recent weeks.

Last May the Waterloo, Ontario-based company announced a far-reaching strategic review under which it was expected to examine all options, from software licensing deals to an outright sale of the company.