TORONTO: BlackBerry shares rose 14 per cent, fuelled by takeover speculation and news that AT&T will start selling the new BlackBerry Z10 touchscreen smartphone in the United States on March 22.
The speculation was sparked by a comment from the head of China’s Lenovo Group, who told a French newspaper that the personal computer maker might consider an acquisition of Canada’s BlackBerry at some point in the future.
“External growth remains a question of opportunities,” said Yang Yuanqing, Lenovo’s CEO, in an interview with Les Échos.
“As for BlackBerry, the file could eventually make sense, but I must first analyze the market and understand the exact weight of this company,” he said in response to a question about whether Lenovo would make a move on the smartphone maker.
BlackBerry, a one-time smartphone pioneer, has bled market share to Apple Inc’s iPhone, Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy line and other devices powered by Google’s market-leading Android operating system.
In a make-or-break move to regain market share and return to profit, BlackBerry introduced the new smartphone to much fanfare in January, and said it was abandoning its old name, Research In Motion, and renaming itself BlackBerry.
Analysts however poured cold water on the speculation that the Chinese technology giant would make a move on BlackBerry.
“We believe a takeout of BlackBerry is unlikely, especially in the near term, nor is our investment thesis or ‘outperform’ rating predicated on such an event,” said Wells Fargo analyst Maynard Um, in a note to clients. A spokesman for Lenovo in Canada also downplayed the CEO’s comment, saying, “in no way was this an indication of activity or strategic direction.”