John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Lenovo Really Did Want to Buy BlackBerry

Lenovo’s long-rumored bid for languishing smartphone pioneer BlackBerry might have gained its legs were it not for the interference of the Canadian government.

Lenovo, the world’s largest manufacturer of PCs, was giving BlackBerry the once-over in October, with an eye toward acquiring it. The company had even signed a nondisclosure agreement to examine the smartphone maker’s books. But, according to a report in the Globe and Mail, the Canadian government warned BlackBerry that the national security issues surrounding its sale to a Chinese company could hamstring any deal the two companies might make.

“We have been pretty consistent that the message is Canada is open to foreign investment and investment from China in particular but not at the cost of compromising national security,” an anonymous Canadian government source told the publication. “I don’t think anybody should be surprised that we would have concerns like that.”

Evidently, Ottawa’s message to BlackBerry cooled the company’s dealings with Lenovo so much that it never even proposed a buyout scenario involving the Chinese company. Which is too bad, because sources told the Globe and Mail that Lenovo would likely have been willing to buy BlackBerry.

Here at AllThingsD, we’ve heard similar claims about Lenovo’s intentions, and they do make sense. A deal for BlackBerry might have been a good fit for Lenovo, now the world’s fourth-largest smartphone manufacturer. Certainly, it would have given the Chinese company a more globally renowned mobile brand and stronger carrier connections.

But it was not to be. And now BlackBerry must once again go it alone, having abandoned a concerted effort to sell itself to a large investor or outside suitor.

BlackBerry declined a request for comment. Lenovo did not respond to one.

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— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google