Lenovo Is Interested In Buying RIM

Lenovo, the second-biggest personal computer manufacturer in the world is thinking about acquiring Canada’s Research In Motion, the maker of Blackberry.  On Thursday, Lenovo’s CFO Wong Wai Ming told Bloomberg in an interview at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, "We are looking at all opportunities - RIM and many others. We'll have no hesitation if the right opportunity comes along.”  After the word spread among investors, RIM’s shares rose around 3%, closing at C$17.80, marking a 52-week high.

Lenovo already has purchased a large and successful foreign business before, notably its purchased of IBM’s ThinkPad laptop business from IBM in 2005. Lenovo is the dominant computer maker in China and is already one of the top mobile players too.  However, just like its PC business before its acquisition of IBM’s ThinkPad, Lenovo is not particularly renowned for quality on smartphones. By acquiring RIM, this would immediately upgrade Lenovo’s brand and add many new sales channels across the globe.

While Lenovo has been moving up with its sales and quality, RIM, on the other hand, has been struggling against Apple and Android supported phones. Not everyone thinks that this is a match made in heaven.  Said TecTech in Asia:

“Lenovo is making great progress in the mobile sector with its smartphone offerings, while RIM is losing ground even in traditional strongholds like Indonesia. True, RIM and the BlackBerry platform are popular with the corporate crowd, so Lenovo may be interested in that market. That said, I still don’t get it….”

Like any major high tech company that may be bought out by a foreign competitor, the Canadian government reviews any foreign bids for domestic companies that exceed C$344 million to assess whether the deal would generate a “net benefit” to the country.  China’s other large tech company, Huawei, has been under scrutiny for being a front company for China’s government or military.  Though Canada may eventually approve the sale of RIM to Lenovo, the experience of Huawei may forewarn the road ahead for Lenovo.

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