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Lenovo CEO says company is open to buying BlackBerry

Chief Executive Yang Yuanqing tells a French newspaper that a deal could make sense, but he'd need to look at the market first.


Lenovo's chief executive has told a French publication he is open to an eventual deal to buy embattled smartphone maker BlackBerry.

In an interview with the French financial newspaper Les Echos, Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing said that a deal could make sense, but added he would need to analyze the market and understand the importance of the company. Bloomberg spotted and translated the French language publication's story.

The comments sparked a 14.1 percent increase in BlackBerry's stock. It's up $1.84 to $14.90 in recent trading.

While a Lenovo representative confirmed the comments made by Yuanqing, the company cautioned against reading too much into them. The representative said that the comments didn't indicate any activity or strategic decision about BlackBerry.

A BlackBerry representative declined to comment.

Bloomberg noted that the comments were similar to Chief Financial Officer Wong Wai Ming's own comments earlier this year about looking at all opportunities.

In both statements, however, the executives hedged on just how open they were to striking a deal with BlackBerry.

BlackBerry, meanwhile, is in the middle of staging its turnaround, having unveiled and launched its BlackBerry Z10 smartphone in several markets. In the U.S., AT&T has said it would sell the Z10 on March 22.

While the company finally has its next-generation platform out in the market, there are still no guarantees for success. It still faces stiff competition from Android and iOS, as well as Microsoft's Windows Phone platform, which is also angling to be the No. 3 ecosystem.

Updated at 5:46 a.m. PT on March 12: to include responses from both companies.