Back in January during an interview at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, Lenovo Group Chief Financial Officer Wong Wai Ming casually mentioned that the company was accessing potential acquisition targets and strategic alliances. One of those targets was BlackBerry smartphone maker Research in Motion which renamed itself as "BlackBerry" once the company launched its latest platform, BlackBerry 10.
"We are looking at all opportunities -- RIM and many others," Wong revealed. "We’ll have no hesitation if the right opportunity comes along that could benefit us and shareholders."
Lenovo followed up by saying that Wong was just speaking broadly, that Lenovo is very focused on growing its business, both organically and through M&A. When inorganic ideas arise, Lenovo explores them to see if there is a strategic fit, a company rep said.
"We are aware that Lenovo’s CFO [Wong] Waiming was speaking broadly about M&A strategy in a recent interview," the rep said. "RIM was raised as a potential target by the journalist and Mr. Wong repeatedly answered in a manner consistent with all of our previous statements on M&A strategy."
Now Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing is admitting that a BlackBerry buyout could possibly make sense. However he would need to "analyze the market well and understand what is the exact weight of [BlackBerry]." He then added that Lenovo cannot rely on external growth and acquisition to fully develop its business. Instead, Lenovo will continue to rely on its own products for its success.
Still, Yang and his company will remain "vigilant on the market and its players".
Currently Lenovo doesn't have a strong smartphone portfolio in North America, making BlackBerry an ideal acquisition candidate. But an acquisition would require approval from both U.S. and Canadian regulators because of the size of the transaction and because BlackBerry operates secure mobile networks for government agencies.
BlackBerry seemingly became a takeover target for companies wanting the brand and services when it began to review its strategic options in 2012.