PC giant Lenovo is considering a bid for troubled smartphone maker BlackBerry.
The news follows the revelation that it has been granted permission to examine the company's books and comes after months of denials that it was interested in bidding for BlackBerry.
The Canadian smartphone maker effectively put itself up for sale at the beginning of September after revealing catastrophically disappointing sales of its Z10 smartphone, and a write-down of $960m related to unsold stocks of the device. Its keyboarded Q10 device has proved more popular, despite its high price.
Lenovo, meanwhile, is one of the fastest growing smartphone makers in the world at the moment, although largely based on booming sales in its home market where it has come from nowhere to grab second spot. That follows a $793.5m investment in a plant in Wuhan, China that can produce up to 40 million devices a year.
In August, Lenovo revealed that it was now selling more smartphones and tablet computers than PCs for the first time, despite also overtaking Hewlett-Packard to become the world's biggest manufacturer of PCs.
A BlackBerry acquisition would provide a valuable channel to market outside China, while the BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) software could form the basis for an enterprise software business for the PC vendor. BlackBerry also owns the QNX operating system, which it acquired in 2010 and which forms the basis for the BlackBerry 10 operating system.
QNX is also widely used as an embedded operating system in the automotive sector, providing opportunities for BlackBerry in China's nascent home-grown car-making industry.
According to reports, Lenovo has been hesitant about striking mobile phone deals outside of its home market as it lacks a channel to market and the investment required to ramp up would be considerable.
However, it is open to question whether Lenovo would be interested in continuing development of BlackBerry's smartphone operationg systems.