Lenovo, linked to speculation about buying assets from BlackBerry (Nasdaq: BBRY) and IBM (NYSE: IBM),  is hesitating with deals amid ample opportunities in order to avoid overpaying.

Reports have also circulated for several weeks that Lenovo has been in discussions with smartphone maker HTC about a possible deal of some sort – perhaps a joint venture.

Lenovo is expanding rapidly into smartphones and tablets as well as servers as it attempts to diversify beyond PCs. While Lenovo leads the world in PC sales, tablets and smartphone adoption continues to expand rapidly worldwide. 

“We will not buy for the sake of buying,” Wong Wai Ming, chief financial officer of the world’s largest personal-computer maker, said in an interview with Bloomberg News at the company’s Beijing headquarters yesterday. “Even when an opportunity, on the face of it, makes perfect sense for us to do it, it may not happen.”

To counter falling global PC shipments, Lenovo is trying to spur sales of its mobile devices and push into the market for storage equipment and servers running corporate networks. With $3.1 billion in cash at the end of June, Chief Executive Officer Yang Yuanqing has said he’s willing to strengthen new businesses through acquisitions.

“Lenovo has very prudent matrices when looking at acquisitions,” Ken Hui, a Hong Kong-based analyst at Jefferies, said in a phone interview. “They want to make sure, if it’s a loss-making business, that there is a strong plan to turn losses into profit, soon.”

Shares of Lenovo rose 0.8 percent to HK$8.39 as of the trading break in Hong Kong today. The stock has gained 20 percent so far this year, compared with a 2.8 percent rise in the city’s benchmark Hang Seng Index.

Lenovo operates its global executive headquarters in Morrisville and employs some 2,000 people in the Triangle. The company also operates a PC manufacturing and distribution center in the Triad.

BlackBerry maintains two research and development offices in Cary.

IBM’s server unit has been a rumored target for Lenovo. That group has a significant presence in the Triangle.

Lenovo acquired IBM’s personal computer business, which was largely based in the Triangle, in 2005.

IBM Acquisition

Lenovo became the No. 1 PC maker through more than $2 billion in acquisitions in the past eight years. After buying IBM’s personal-computer division in 2005, Lenovo expanded its market share in the past two years with purchases including Essen, Germany-based computer maker Medion AG and NEC Corp.’s PC unit in Japan.

Wong said a large purchase also could be financed through issuing equity.

“From a financial resources point of view, that’s not an issue,” Wong said. “There is no hindrance for us.”

The company will be more “proactive” on acquisitions, Yang said in an August interview without naming targets. The company plans to double its share of the market for storage equipment within three years, and a good acquisition could speed that process, he said in a June interview.

Smartphones and enterprise computing remain areas Lenovo wants to expand, Wong said yesterday. He declined to identify any potential acquisition targets the company has talked with.

Investor Pressure

The company is under investor pressure to execute a deal, said Stephen Yang, a Hong Kong-based analyst at Sun Hung Kai Financial Ltd. said.

“Lenovo needs to make a deal in the next year, or growth will suffer post-2015,” Yang said. “They have raised the bar for shareholder expectations. Everybody is waiting for them to do something big.”

Lenovo was in talks to buy part of IBM’s server division until the two sides failed to agree on a price, a person familiar with the discussions said in May. In an April 19 statement through the Hong Kong stock exchange, Lenovo said it was in “preliminary” discussions about a potential acquisition with a third party it didn’t identify.

Wong said in January Lenovo was considering a possible deal with BlackBerry. The Waterloo, Ontario-based handset maker has struggled to reverse its fortunes following years of losing market share to devices made by Apple Inc. or using Google Inc.’s Android software.

BlackBerry, HTC

After weak sales of the new BlackBerry 10 lineup, management announced a tentative $4.7 billion buyout agreement last month that would take the company private.

Lenovo has approached Taiwan-based HTC Corp., which posted its first quarterly loss, for possible cooperation including forming a joint venture or a share swap, the Taipei-based Apple Daily reported this month. Lenovo, which ranked No. 4 in global smartphone shipments in the second quarter, issued a statement June 4 saying it was considering a “potential joint-venture transaction” in the smartphone business.

There are “a lot of opportunities” for acquisitions, Wong said, without identifying any. The company’s cash on hand and ability to secure additional funds mean it can consider most assets, he said.

Lenovo is looking to new products for growth amid slumping PC demand. Worldwide PC shipments in the third quarter fell 8.6 percent, the sixth consecutive quarterly decline, reaching the lowest level for the period since 2008, market researcher Gartner Inc. said Oct. 9.

The company said in May it would boost smartphone shipments to 50 million units this fiscal year from 29 million last year.

[LENOVO ARCHIVE: Check out eight years of Lenovo stories as reported in WRALTechWire.]