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Lenovo considers buying BlackBerry

BlackBerry Z10

By Shona Ghosh

Posted on 5 Sep 2013 at 09:28

Lenovo is reportedly considering a bid for BlackBerry, after the Canadian firm put itself up for sale last month.

BlackBerry is reportedly after a quick sale, after putting together a special committee - comprising members of the firm's board plus CEO Thorsten Heins - to explore the firm's "strategic alternatives". Those could include a joint venture or partnerships as well as a sale.

According to The Wall Street Journal, BlackBerry hopes to kick off a fast auction process that will wrap up by the end of November.

The firm has reportedly held preliminary talks with third parties interested in buying all or parts of the company, and drawn up a shortlist of potential bidders.

That list reportedly includes Chinese smartphone and PC giant Lenovo, financial firms from the US and Cananda, and other unnamed Asian tech companies.

Lenovo boss Yang Yuanqing hasn't ruled out a deal, telling the newspaper that consolidation in the mobile market was inevitable, and that Lenovo "would take the opportunity" if strategically sound.

Whether Lenovo's speculation turns into a serious bid - or whether BlackBerry does manage to wrap up a quick deal - remains to be seen, however.

"Dying brand"

The speculation comes after one possible BlackBerry buyer, Microsoft, snapped up Nokia in a surprise deal for €5.44bn.

Although optimism surrounding the deal actually sparked a rise in BlackBerry's share price, it also makes the firm's push for third place in the smartphone market all the more difficult.

Analysts have also noted that BlackBerry's public push for a sale will damage its position further. Even with the launch of its updated mobile operating system, BB10, BlackBerry has struggled to return to form against Apple and Android.

Despite the release of new flagship devices in the first quarter, BlackBerry OS' share of the market fell to around 3%, down from 5% this time last year.

"Our view is that enterprises will further delay implementations and even die-hard consumers will catch wind that BlackBerry is for sale and not commit to the platform," said National Bank Financial analyst Kris Thompson in a note.

"The public for sale sign may be what torpedoes management’s valiant efforts to resuscitate a dying brand."

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