Lenovo Group, the world’s third-largest maker of personal computers, is in talks to buy European PC maker Packard Bell BV from principal owner John Hui, the companies said on Tuesday.
Such a deal would quickly increase the Chinese computer maker’s market share, even as it continues to digest IBM’s PC business, which it bought in 2005, one analyst said.
Lenovo is negotiating the deal with Hui, also known as Lap Shun Hui, the former owner of eMachines, another computer maker, Packard Bell said.
A Packard Bell spokesman said Lenovo was in exclusive talks to buy Packard Bell. He denied a media report that Lenovo was competing with Acer to buy the company.
“I’m surprised they’re doing something so quickly again,” American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu said. “They’re doing it from a position of strength. It would’ve been worse if Lenovo wasn’t doing well.”
“It makes them (Lenovo) stronger competitors,” Wu added.
Lenovo said it was working with other parties or government bodies to prepare for entering into definitive agreements for such an acquisition.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported that Lenovo and Acer were both vying for Packard, which Hui bought from NEC in October 2006.
Acer said in April it planned to buy a PC company in three to five months to win more market share and accelerate growth. The company has declined to identify a potential target, saying only that it would not be a U.S. or Taiwanese company.
Lenovo, one of a handful of Chinese companies trying to forge a global brand by investing abroad, dropped to fourth place globally in the first three months of 2007, but has reclaimed the No. 3 slot from Acer in a closely fought battle, according to data from researchers Gartner and IDC.
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