x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Lenovo weighs up acquisition of BlackBerry maker RIM

The Lenovo Group is assessing potential acquisition targets and strategic alliances, including a deal with Research In Motion.

The Lenovo Group is assessing potential acquisition targets and strategic alliances, including a deal with BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM), as the second-largest producer of personal computers tries to bolster its mobile device business.

"We are looking at all opportunities - RIM and many others," the chief financial officer Wong Wai Ming said on Friday in an interview at the World Economic Forum's meeting in Davos, Switzerland. "We'll have no hesitation if the right opportunity comes along that could benefit us and shareholders."

RIM began a review of its strategic options last year after losing market share to smartphones such as Apple's iPhone and Samsung Electronics's Galaxy, raising speculation that it could be a takeover target. Beijing-based Lenovo is considering acquisitions and adding new products as competition from tablets hampers profit growth.

"Long term, we are in a declining PC market," said Jean-Louis Lafayeedney, an analyst at JI Asia in Hong Kong.

Still, Lenovo "can leverage the scale they have in PCs to develop the mobile internet side of the business".

The PC maker has a team working on possible acquisitions, said Mr Wong. Lenovo has spoken to RIM and its bankers about various combinations or strategic ventures, he added. Mr Wong said he would carefully consider valuations for all potential deals and noted that RIM's stock price has recently risen back into the double digits.

RIM climbed 2.3 per cent to US$17.74 at the close in New York last week. The stock has almost tripled since late September, fuelled by speculation over what a strategic review may yield and optimism over Rim's new BlackBerry 10 phones, set to debut on Wednesday. RIM declined to comment on a possible Lenovo bid.

* Bloomberg News