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Last week, a Bloomberg report suggested that Chinese electronics giant Lenovo was interested in acquiring struggling BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (RIM). Apparently that report was wrong.
A Sina Tech report (translated) says that the company is actually just exploring acquisition opportunities in general.
That’s in line with an edict from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) urging the country’s tech companies to make mergers and acquisitions a serious priority in 2013.
Lenovo issued a statement to The Next Web suggesting that Bloomberg had taken Lenovo CFO Wong Waiming’s words out of context:
We are aware that Lenovo’s CFO [Wong] Waiming was speaking broadly about M&A strategy in a recent interview. 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: Lenovo is very focused on growing its business, both organically and through M&A. When inorganic ideas arise, we explore them to see if there is a strategic fit.
For its part, RIM said its focus was fixed squarely on the BlackBerry 10:
[RIM CEO] Thorsten Heins has made it very clear that we are focused on the delivery of BlackBerry 10, which we will launch with events around the world on January 30th. As he said on our most recent results conference call on December 20th, we continue to examine all available options to “create new opportunities, focusing on areas where we will be more effective partnering rather than going it alone, and ultimately maximizing value for all stakeholders.” We do not have anything new to report on our Strategic Review at this time.
If Lenovo were to attempt to buy RIM, it probably wouldn’t be the easiest acquisition in history. As TechCrunch notes, Canada’s Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty said that the government would have to “look carefully” at any potential deal involving the Waterloo-based RIM.
Canada has a history of turning down foreign acquisitions of companies based there too. In 2008, for instance, it blocked a US$1.32-billion bid from US-based Alliant Techsystems for British Columbia-based MacDonald Dettwiller & Associate’s satellite business.
However much sense a RIM acquisition it might make (think about the stunning work Lenovo’s done with the ThinkPad range since buying it from IBM in 2005), it doesn’t look likely to happen.