Lenovo: Buy BlackBerry (BBRY) or IBM x86 Server Business?

Lenovo: Buy BlackBerry (BBRY) or IBM x86 Server Business?

IBM wants to sell its x86 server business. BlackBerry (BBRY) is up for sale. Do all roads -- or no roads -- lead to Lenovo?

Whether it's BlackBerry (BBRY) or IBM's x86 server business, everyone wants to know if Lenovo is in a buying mood. Lenovo earlier this year was rumored to be buying IBM's x86 server business but a deal never materialized. Now that BlackBerry is up for sale, Wall Street is wondering if Lenovo will tender an offer for the struggling smartphone maker. The VAR Guy's best guess?

Our resident blogger doubts Lenovo will open its wallet for BlackBerry, which has a $5.42 billion market cap as of Aug. 16, 2013. BlackBerry's flagship Z10 smartphone -- even with recent discounts -- has failed to jumpstart the company's sales. And Lenovo said its own smartphone sales -- mostly in China -- more than doubled to 11.4 million units in the company's most recent quarter.

The big question: Can Lenovo simply extend its own smartphones into North America or does the company need a strategic partner or complete acquisition like BlackBerry to succeed? Multiple Lenovo executives this week said the company would consider smartphone industry acquisitions but the company did not specifically comment about buying BlackBerry.

Again, The VAR Guy's best guess: Lenovo won't buy BlackBerry because the Canadian company has so many flaws and challenges. Acquiring such a company could actually slow down -- rather than accelerate -- Lenovo's smartphone strategy, The VAR Guy believes.

What About IBM x86 Servers?

Meanwhile, industry chatter about Lenovo potentially buying IBM's x86 server business has died down.

But here's the thing: The VAR Guy believes IBM's asking price will need to gradually fall with each passing month. IBM's hardware sales are in a slump. No doubt cloud computing's rising popularity will continue to pressure server sales from all vendors. 

If IBM is serious about an x86 server exit, the smart move would be to strike a lower-price deal with Lenovo now rather than a firesale deal in the future, The VAR Guy believes.

TAGS: Sales
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