UPDATE 2-Lenovo will face obstacles in any BlackBerry deal -source

Thu Oct 17, 2013 7:48pm EDT
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By Nadia Damouni and Euan Rocha

NEW YORK/TORONTO Oct 17 (Reuters) - Chinese computer maker Lenovo, which has signed a non-disclosure deal to examine BlackBerry's books, faces regulatory obstacles if it bids for all of the company and will likely pursue just parts, a source familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

BlackBerry Ltd said in August it was exploring options that could include an outright sale. And the Canadian company, which helped pioneer smartphones, has since been linked with a string of potential buyers from private equity firms to rival technology companies.

Its shares, which rose 4 percent after the Wall Street Journal first reported the interest from Lenovo Group Ltd , ended up less than a percent at $8.20 on the Nasdaq.

Multiple sources close to the matter have told Reuters BlackBerry is in talks with Cisco Systems Inc, Google Inc and Germany's SAP AG among others, about selling all, or parts of itself. The potential buyers have all declined to comment.

None of these technology companies have made a formal bid for BlackBerry yet. However, industry experts believe that, while these players might not be interested in all of BlackBerry, they are keen on at least some pieces that would mesh well with or expand their own businesses.

Two sources said they expect some of these strategic players to be paired in bids for BlackBerry, depending on their level of interest its hardware and network assets.

Such a deal would be an alternative to a preliminary, $9-a- share offer by a group led by BlackBerry's biggest shareholder, Canada's Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. Earlier this month, co-founders Mike Lazaridis and Douglas Fregin said they were also considering a bid.   Continued...