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BlackBerry botch: 'National security concerns' blocked Lenovo's buyout bid

Canadian Government reportedly stepped in
BlackBerry botch: 'National security concerns' blocked Lenovo's buyout bid

The Canadian Government put the blockers on any BlackBerry buyout by Chinese manufacturer Lenovo due to 'national security concerns'.

That's according to the Globe and Mail, with a report by the paper claiming the Government made use of the Under the Investment Canada Act, which allows it to block any takeover of a Canadian company by a foreign firm if it thinks national security may be threatened.

'No surprise'

The paper doesn't put names to its sources, though it does claim BlackBerry never formally proposed any Lenovo takeover, despite heavy chatter suggesting the Chinese giant was sniffing around in such a deal.

BlackBerry itself has declined to comment on the story, though a Canadian Government official did claim that people shouldn't be surprised that "we would have concerns like that."

"We have been pretty consistent that the message is Canada is open to foreign investment and investment from China in particular but not at the cost of compromising national security," said the official.

Canadian concerns about what are believed to be close ties between Chinese tech companies and the Chinese Government appeae to follow a similar line to those in the US, where Huawei has been accused of using its products to spy on foreign powers.

Earlier in the year, the US Government banned Huawei from tendering work for the National Broadband Network due to national security concerns, despite fierece protestations by both Huawei and the Chinese Government.

Next steps

The end result of the supposed takeover block by the Canadian Government has been for BlackBerry to pull out of an existing buyout deal it had in place with lead investor Fairfax.

Speculation had suggested the $4.7 billion takeover was to be used as a 'sweetener' for a future deal with a rival manufacturer, shoring up BlackBerry's financials and placing a handy price tag on the business in the process.

Indeed, Lenovo has long been cited as a likely bidder for BlackBerry, though if the Globe and Mail is to be believed the Canadian giant's survival options may have taken a severe setback thanks to its own Government.

[source: Globe and Mail]