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China computer giant Lenovo rumored to eye BlackBerry

China’s tech giant Lenovo is reportedly weighing a bid to buy smartphone maker BlackBerry. The Canadian firm is currently in takeover talks with several firms. But a Chinese bid is said to face political resistance.

Chinese computer and phonemaker Lenovo was considering a bid to acquire Canadian smartphone manufacturer BlackBerry, the US business daily Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

Lenovo had already signed a non-disclosure deal to access BlackBerry's accounts, the paper said, citing sources close to the matter. If agreed, it would be one of the biggest purchases of a western firm by a Chinese company.

In August, BlackBerry announced it was establishing a shareholders' committee to decide whether to go on sale or seek other rescue options. BlackBerry is struggling after disappointing sales of its newest line of devices, which it hoped would win back market share from much bigger rivals Apple and Samsung.

In September, Canadian investment fund Fairfax Financial, which owns 10 percent of BlackBerry, offered to buy the rest of the firm for $9 (6.5 euro) per share, valuing BlackBerry at $4.7 billion.

However, the Canadian smartphone pioneer has since linked with a number of potential buyers, including Cisco System, Google and German software maker SAP. In addition, BlackBerry founder Mike Lazaridis, who owns 5.7 percent, is also said to be considering a counter bid.

Chinese takeover to meet regulatory hurdles

A Lenovo bid is reportedly facing tough regulatory reviews in Canada and the United States.

Under the Investment Canada Act, the government in Ottawa had wide-ranging powers to veto any foreign takeover, if it found the deal would not benefit the country or posed a risk to national security, Reuters news agency reported Friday.

According to Reuters, BlackBerry's secure network, which handled confidential corporate and government emails in the US and Canada, was likely to be sold to a North American bidder.

Canada's Industry Minister James Moore, however, declined to comment on Lenovo's interest in BlackBerry, Reuters said.

uhe/ccp (Reuters, AFP)