Lenovo crashes on concerns over aggressive dealmaking

Charles Clover and Paul J Davies

Investors ditched Lenovo shares after the four-day lunar new year holiday on Tuesday, as weekend speculation of a third acquisition by the Chinese computer maker in as many weeks added to concerns about its aggressive dealmaking.

Lenovo's shares fell more than 16 percent on the first full day of trading since its $2.9 billion takeover of the Motorola handset business owned by Google was announced last week.

(Read more: Google selling Motorola phone business to Lenovo)

A pair of Lenovo 2-in-1 laptops and tablets.
Getty Images

That deal, on top of the $2.3 billion deal for IBM's low-end server business announced a week earlier, led to a string of downgrades from analysts at banks including CCB, Jefferies,Morgan Stanley and UBS.

Lenovo was also touted as a buyer for Sony's Vaio laptop business outside of Japan in one Japanese press report over the weekend. Sony denied that any talks were under way with the Chinese company, while Lenovo declined to comment on rumours.

Yang Yuanqing, Lenovo's chairman, has won some praise for the audacity of his dealmaking, designed to elevate Lenovo from being the world's largest manufacturer of PCs to a leading player in technology.

However, analysts reckon the deals will hurt Lenovo's earnings in the short term.

(Read more: Lenovo resumes talks to buy IBM unit)

Grace Chen at Morgan Stanley said that Lenovo was overpaying for the Motorola business, which will only give the Chinese group a distant third place in the global handset market with slightly more than 5 percent of sales.

Concerns over Lenovo & Google deal

"M&A is aggressively expanding Lenovo's business bandwidth," Ms Chen wrote to clients. "We like the acquisition of IBM's entry-level servers, but the purchase of Motorola Mobility should more than offset the gains, at least in the near term."

Similarly, analysts at UBS pointed to the Motorola deal as a concern, noting that Google would keep the majority of the patents that it bought in an earlier deal. "We think the potential uncertainty in the [Motorola] MMI deal could offset the benefit from the IBM low end servers deal," they wrote.

Lenovo's shares closed down 16.5 percent at HK$8.40.

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Bankers dismissed speculation that Lenovo could form a joint venture to buy the overseas business of Sony's Vaio, especially given that it has already grown to become number one in the global PC market by sales.

In response to the Japanese press report, Sony said: "Sony continues to address various options for the PC business, but the press report on a possible PC business alliance between Sony and Lenovo is inaccurate."