Lenovo pursued BlackBerry purchase, but government stepped in over security concerns

According to The Globe & Mail, Lenovo, the world’s largest PC manufacturer and rising smartphone and tablet maker, was pursuing a BlackBerry purchase in recent months, but the Canadian government stepped in over security concerns.

Lenovo had been pursuing a potential bid for BlackBerry as far back as January, only days before the company unveiled its first BlackBerry 10 device. Then, in October, the name returned to the fore after Fairfax Financial Holdings had submitted a letter of intent to buy BlackBerry for $4.7 billion.

Now that we know the deal has not gone forward — BlackBerry will instead receive $1 billion in the form of convertible debenture bonds, $250 million of which will come directly from Fairfax — another revelation has emerged. Lenovo was willing to purchase BlackBerry in its entirety, not just the hardware division, but once talks got serious the Canadian government stated they would not approve the deal on the grounds of national security.

According to a source within the government, Canada is open to foreign investment, “but not at the cost of compromising national security.” A similar reason was given for the government’s rejection of Accelero’s $520 million purchase of Allstream from MTS. Accelero is owned by former WIND founder, Naguib Sawiris, and was believed to be pursuing the Allstream deal in preparation for the 700Mhz spectrum auction next year.

Lenovo may still attempt to purchase a part of BlackBerry down the road, particularly its handset division, but would likely be blocked from obtaining any of its patents or backend infrastructure.

[source]The Globe & Mail[/source]