Lenovo: Acquisitions Will Fuel More GrowthLenovo: Acquisitions Will Fuel More Growth
Chinese PC maker Lenovo still considers strategic acquisitions as its best growth path, even with the ink not yet dry on its $2.3 billion deal to land IBM’s (IBM) x86 server business and an equally high-profile $2.91 billion purchase of Google’s (GOOG) Motorola mobile unit.
March 20, 2014
Chinese PC maker Lenovo still considers strategic acquisitions as its best growth path, even with the ink not yet dry on its $2.3 billion deal to land IBM’s (IBM) x86 server business and an equally high profile $2.91 billion purchase of Google’s (GOOG) Motorola mobile unit.
Following a shareholder meeting in Hong Kong earlier this week, Lenovo chief executive Yang Yuanqing, as reported by The Wall Street Journal, said the company will “continue to use acquisitions as a means to grow. Whenever there is a good opportunity, we will grasp it.”
But having just spent more than $5 billion—some $2.7 billion of it in cash—on two acquisitions, does Lenovo have enough left in its storehouse to move on new opportunities? Until two months ago, in the nine years since buying IBM’s PC business for $1.75 billion, Lenovo had engaged only in far smaller deals. Will we see more blockbusters in the future?
Maybe so, although it’s not all that clear how much short-term financial maneuverability the company can command. As of Dec. 31, Lenovo said in a financial report that it had $3.4 billion in cash reserves. The company’s financial steward, CFO Wong Wai Ming, is on record saying Lenovo has access to $4.7 billion in cash, indicating that even after it ponies up the money to cover the IBM x86 and Motorola deals, it will still be sitting on some $2 billion in reserve. At the shareholder meeting, Wong said Lenovo is open to tapping into bank loans or other fund-raising avenues were the right acquisition opportunity to present itself.
Yang reiterated at the shareholder meeting his confidence that Lenovo can reverse Motorola’s ill fortunes and make the unit profitable within four to six quarters, offering a more detailed prediction than one he first made a month ago. Yang previously has said Lenovo expects to blunt the mobile maker’s $1 billion in losses, but has yet to elaborate on the expected drag on the Chinese manufacturer’s earnings from reviving the brand.
He indicated Lenovo has no plans to cut employees and will rely on economies of scale to efficiently dovetail the mobile business into its overall operation. Motorola now carries some 3,500 employees, having lopped nearly 90 percent of its staff in the past two years.
“The remaining employees are all talented, and most of them are engineers that can help improve Lenovo’s product development in mature markets,” Yang said, as reported by WSJ.
Lenovo recorded a 30 percent increase in profit for its FQ3 December quarter on a 15 percent bump in sales to $10.8 billion. The company retained its top ranking for PC shipments worldwide, according to researcher IDC’s Q4 2013 data, with a 9 percent year-over-year market share increase to 18.6 percent of the segment at 15.3 million units shipped.
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