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Canada to Look ‘Carefully’ at Lenovo-RIM Deal: Flaherty

Canada would closely examine any proposal for a tie-up between Chinese computer-maker Lenovo Group Ltd. and BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion Ltd., Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said.

“It’s something that we would look carefully at,” he said in an interview at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland yesterday. He also said “absolutely” when asked whether some local technologies are off limits to potential overseas buyers.

RIM, Canada’s largest-listed technology company, rose to the highest in more than a year in Toronto trading on Jan. 24 after Beijing-based Lenovo said it was considering a bid among other options for expanding its mobile-devices business. RIM has said it’s assessing strategic options after losing market share to Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics.

Canada has previously blocked foreign takeovers of local companies because of security issues. In 2008, it vetoed a C$1.33 billion ($1.32 billion) bid from U.S.-based Alliant Techsystems Inc. for MacDonald Dettwiler & Associates Ltd.’s satellite business. Cnooc Ltd., received approval from the Canadian government for a $15.1 billion acquisition of Nexen Inc., the biggest takeover by a Chinese company, in December.

“We always look at foreign investment in Canada as a cause for reflection,” Flaherty said in the interview with Bloomberg Television’s Erik Schatzker. “We have to look at intelligence concerns.”

Lenovo, which bought International Business Machines Corp.’s PC unit in 2005, is considering acquisitions as competition from tablets hampers profit growth. The computer maker has also introduced new products including smartphones.

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