Lenovo sets sights on BlackBerry maker

Toronto, Jan. 25 (Reuters): A senior Lenovo executive said on Thursday that the Chinese computer maker may consider Research in Motion (RIM) as a takeover target, sending the BlackBerry maker's shares up 2 per cent just a week before it launches a make-or-break line of redesigned smartphones.

But Lenovo, which vaulted into the personal computer market with its 2005 purchase of IBM's PC division, would face formidable hurdles if it tried to buy a company that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper once described as a national "crown jewel". The Chinese company would also encounter tough regulatory scrutiny in Washington, cybersecurity experts say.

Lenovo, on track to become the world's largest PC maker, has held talks with RIM and its bankers about various combinations or strategic ventures, its chief financial officer, Wong Wai Ming, said.

"We are looking at all opportunities ' RIM and many others," Wong told Bloomberg in an interview at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. "We'll have no hesitation if the right opportunity comes along."

A spokesperson for Lenovo said Wong was asked about RIM by the Bloomberg journalist and that Wong was speaking broadly about Lenovo's merger and acquisition strategy.

Crucial juncture

RIM, once a pioneer in the smartphone industry, has struggled in recent years as its aging line-up of devices have ceded market share to Apple Inc's iPhone and devices based on Google Inc's Android operating system.

RIM hopes its new touch-screen and keyboard devices, powered by its new BlackBerry 10 operating system, will help it claw back some of the lost ground.

Optimism surrounding the launch has powered the stock higher in recent weeks.

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