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Lenovo weighing a BlackBerry takeover, reports WSJ

The Chinese PC vendor could use BlackBerry as a way to expand its global brand in smartphones.

BlackBerry's Z10 smartphone.
Josh Miller/CNET

Another day, another turn of the BlackBerry rumor mill.

The latest comes from The Wall Street Journal, which flashed a news alert that Chinese PC maker Lenovo is considering the acquisition of embattled smartphone maker BlackBerry.

Lenovo is said to have signed a non-disclosure agreement to look at BlackBerry's books.

BlackBerry, which recently abandoned its attempts to cater to the consumer market for smartphones and focus solely on business, has been actively looking for a buyer.

BlackBerry declined to comment, only referring to its previous statement about seeking buyers. Lenovo declined to comment.

Lenovo has long been rumored to be a buyer, and indeed, its own CEO, Yang Yuanqing, said in March that he would be interested in a deal, but would have to look closely at the market.

Lenovo makes its own line of smartphones, but has largely only been successful in China. BlackBerry would give Lenovo a global brand and connections with every carrier around the world.

Lenovo, of course, has had success taking over foreign country's marquee company and incorporating it as its own. Lenovo acquired IBM's computer business in 2005, and the laptops are now sold under the Lenovo brand. Like IBM, BlackBerry is a business-centric brand that Lenovo could pair with its PCs.

It's unclear whether a deal with Lenovo would clear regulators in Canada or US, as BlackBerry does business with sensitive parts of both governments. While Lenovo doesn't have the negative stigma that a Huawei has, it has been tougher to clear international deals that involve Chinese companies.

BlackBerry, meanwhile, does have an offer by FairFax Financial on the table, but there have been increasing concerns that the fund doesn't have the financial backing necessary to pull of a deal to take it private.