Lenovo Signs Non-Disclosure To Peek At BlackBerry's Books


Lenovo is actively pursuing a possible acquisition of BlackBerry and has signed a non-disclosure agreement with the Canadian mobile device maker to examine the company's books, according to the Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources.

If true, it would be the latest major IT acquisition China-based Lenovo attempted after Lenovo approached IBM about purchasing part of its server business. That move eventually was unsuccessful.

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that should the bid by Lenovo, one of several potential BlackBerry suitors, be successful, the deal would have to pass careful scrutiny by the Canadian government.

[Related: As The Time Clock Ticks, Beleaguered BlackBerry Weighs Options]

BlackBerry is currently expected to go private in a $4.7-billion deal led by Fairfax Financial Holdings. BlackBerry's board of directors has already approved that deal.

Should Lenovo acquire BlackBerry, the repercussions in the U.S. would be immediate. Some of BlackBerry's biggest mobile device users are U.S. government agencies, a fact the Journal said would likely cause the
Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., or CFIUS, to review such a deal.

While the U.S. in 2005 allowed the sale of IBM's PC business to Lenovo despite the heavy presence of IBM PCs in government offices, it has since taken a tougher stance on the move with Chinese-owned companies, such as telecom giant Huawei, which has tried for years to develop a U.S. enterprise and government market.

A Lenovo spokesperson told CRN via email that the company has no comment on "market rumor or speculation."

A BlackBerry spokesperson sent CRN a statement that read, "The Special Committee, with the assistance of the Company’s independent financial and legal advisors, is conducting a robust and thorough review of strategic alternatives. We do not intend to disclose further developments with respect to the process until we approve a specific transaction or otherwise conclude the review of strategic alternatives."

PUBLISHED OCT. 17, 2013