How different things might have been for Lenovo. The Chinese company, currently the world’s top PC maker, had harboured ambitions of acquiring Motorola since 2011, and would have done so…if only they did their homework prior to flying out to the US to discuss M&A options with Motorola.
In a press conference in China after the acquisition, Lenovo CEO Yuanqing Yang spoke of the company’s “long desire” to buy Motorola. In 2011, CFO Wong Wai Ming even travelled to Motorola’s US headquarters to discuss possible acquisition options. Around the time of the meeting, Motorola had only very recently split its business into two: Motorola Mobility, the mobile division and Motorola Solutions, the company’s data communications and communications equipment division.
Instead of meeting with Motorola Mobility CEO Sanjay Jha, Wong met with Greg Brown, the CEO of Motorola Solutions CEO. So Wong’s meeting with Brown came to nothing, and Yang and his entourage were kept in the dark of Google’s interest in buying out Motorola Mobility. Whoops.
Fortunately, after CEO Yang found out of the blunder, he invited Google Chairman Eric Schmidt over for dinner and told him to come to Lenovo should Google wish to let Motorola go someday.
Two months ago, Yang received an email from Schmidt, and was later asked “Are you still interested in Motorola?” $2.91 billion and a handshake later, Lenovo finally got their prized asset – and for close to $10 billion less than what they may have had to pay in 2011.