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Lenovo buyout of BlackBerry claimed blocked by Canadian government

updated 07:04 am EST, Wed November 6, 2013

National security concerns over telecoms infrastructure nixed buyout plans

Lenovo could have bought ailing smartphone manufacturer BlackBerry, but was denied by the Canadian government. Alleged interference of inter-company discussions by Ottawa government officials made it clear to BlackBerry executives that a takeover by a Chinese company would not proceed, due to potential national security concerns.

The government advised that "it would not approve a Chinese company buying a company deeply tied into Canada's telecom infrastructure," sources of the Globe and Mail claim. The messages passed in the high-level discussions effectively stopped any further movement by Lenovo on the matter. An official told the report "We have been pretty consistent that the message is Canada is open to foreign investment and investment from China in particular, but not at the cost of compromising national security."

Lenovo has had its eye on BlackBerry for some time, with reports that it considered a buyout of the company going back as far as January, a time when BlackBerry was still called Research in Motion.

Earlier this week, BlackBerry dropped all plans to sell itself, such as that of the $4.7 billion bid from Fairfax Financial Holdings, instead opting to raise $1 billion from investors. As part of this, Thorsten Heins was pushed from his position as CEO and replaced with John Chen, someone that claims that the company will continue to make smartphones, despite relatively low consumer interest.

by MacNN Staff



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