TORONTO, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Chinese personal computer makerLenovo has signed a non-disclosure deal to examine thebooks of troubled Canadian smartphone maker BlackBerry Ltd, the Wall Street Journal said on Thursday, quotingunnamed sources.
Smartphone pioneer BlackBerry said in August it wasexploring strategic options that could include an outright sale.
It has received a tentative $9 a share offer from aconsortium led by its largest investor, Prem Watsa's FairfaxFinancial Holdings Ltd, which wants to buy BlackBerryfor $4.7 billion and take it private, and other companies arealso taking a look at the company's books to decide whether tomake an offer, industry sources say.
A Chinese bid for BlackBerry would likely face oppositionfrom the Canadian government, which vets foreign takeovers to ensure they are in the national interest, and that they do notthreaten national security.
BlackBerry products have struggled to compete against the Apple Inc iPhone and the numerous devices powered byGoogle Inc's Android operating system.
A new line of smartphones that run on the BlackBerry 10operating system has also failed to re-ignite sales, promptingthe company last month to announce that it would slash itsglobal workforce by more than a third.
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