Lenovo Says No Specific Evaluation Taken for BlackBerry

Lenovo Group Ltd. said it hasn’t taken any action to assess BlackBerry as an acquisition after Les Echos newspaper reported the computer maker may consider buying the Canadian smartphone maker.

“There is not and has not been any specific evaluation or activity underway regarding BlackBerry,” Brion Tingler, a spokesman for Lenovo in New York, said in an e-mail today.

Shares of BlackBerry, formerly known as Research In Motion Ltd., rose 14 percent on March 11 after the French newspaper quoted Lenovo Chief Executive Officer Yang Yuanqing as saying a deal “could possibly make sense, but first I need to analyze the market.”

BlackBerry began a review of its strategic options last year after losing sales to Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co., raising speculation that it could be a takeover target. The Waterloo, Ontario-based company announced its new BlackBerry 10 smartphone lineup in January as it tries to win back market share that has slumped to about a quarter of its level three years ago.

The remarks in Les Echos follow comments made in January by Lenovo Chief Financial Officer Wong Wai Ming, who told Bloomberg News his company was assessing potential acquisition targets and strategic alliances, including a deal with BlackBerry.

“We are looking at all opportunities -- RIM and many others,” Wong said in the Jan. 24 interview in Davos, Switzerland, before the company changed its name.

Beijing-based Lenovo, which bought International Business Machines Corp.’s personal-computer unit in 2005, is the world’s second-biggest maker of PCs behind Hewlett-Packard Co.

Yang is expanding the company into smartphones and tablets to compete with Apple and Samsung.

“We continue to focus on driving organic growth while at the same time, as we have stated many times in the past, we will consider M&A when it is aligned” with strategy, Tingler said in the e-mail. “The company evaluates all growth opportunities on a regular basis.”

— With assistance by Edmond Lococo

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