Chinese Lenovo mulls buying Blackberry: Report

Chinese computer and phone maker Lenovo is considering a counter bid to buy all of Canadian smartphone manufacturer BlackBerry, the Wall Street Journal reported. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS
Chinese computer and phone maker Lenovo is considering a counter bid to buy all of Canadian smartphone manufacturer BlackBerry, the Wall Street Journal reported. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK CITY (AFP) - Chinese computer and phone maker Lenovo is considering a counter bid to buy all of Canadian smartphone manufacturer BlackBerry, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The newspaper on Friday, citing unnamed sources close to the matter, said that Lenovo had signed a confidentiality agreement to access BlackBerry's accounts.

If Lenovo did buy BlackBerry, the deal would be one of the biggest and highest-profile purchases of a Western company by a Chinese firm, the report said.

In August, BlackBerry said it was setting up a committee to decide whether to put itself up for sale or to pursue other options for the company, once a leader in the smartphone market but now in deep difficulties.

Canadian investment fund Fairfax Financial, which owns 10.0 percent of BlackBerry, offered on September 23 to buy the rest of the business for $9.0 per share, valuing the company at $4.7 billion.

Last week, the founder of BlackBerry Mike Lazaridis said he was thinking about making a counter bid.

Lazaridis, who owns 5.7 percent of the shares, has reached an agreement with another founder of the firm, Canadian Douglas Fregin, to look at buying the shares they do not own. Together, they hold 8.0 percent of the capital.