Feeds

Lenovo hires ex-CIA bod to push through Moto deal

Lobby, lobby, lobby!

Mobile application security vulnerability report

Lenovo has hired former CIA and Homeland Security legal wonks to help push through its deals to buy Motorola Mobility and IBM’s x86 server business with US regulators, according to Bloomberg.

The Chinese outfit is spending $US5 billion on the two big name acquisitions to become a top three player in both markets.

People familiar with the matter told the newswire that it has acquired the services of Steptoe & Johnson LLP to deal with the Motorola purchase and guide it through the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS).

Partners Stewart Baker, who was apparently at the department for Homeland Security and Stephen Heifetz, who’s held positions at the Justice Department, Homeland Security and the CIA, will be taking a lead role.

Meanwhile, Covington & Burling LLP partners David Fagan and Mark Plotkin will be advising Lenovo in its bid to get the IBM server buy approved by the CFIUS – an influential agency which investigates the national security implications of foreign purchases of US firms.

Plotkin is well versed in this area, having represented IBM when it sold its PC division to Lenovo.

Lenovo will want to avoid the kind of negative scrutiny that scuppered proposed purchases by Chinese telecoms kit-maker Huawei for server firm 3Leaf and network infrastructure biz 3Com.

Congress has also effectively barred the firm and its neighbour ZTE from competing in the US network infrastructure market over “national security” concerns.

However, Lenovo is at an advantage – at least with the Motorola deal – in that mobile handsets are considered critical national infrastructure and are therefore less likely to attract government scrutiny.

IDC senior research manager, Melissa Chau, told The Reg that both proposed acquisitions should get the green light without any major issues.

“Lenovo is in quite a different position from Huawei in that some US government departments already use ThinkPads, so it has a proven track record of trustworthiness,” she argued.

However, Lenovo has not been always been able to avoid controversy.

Last year an Australian Financial Review story claimed that intelligence agencies in the "Five Eyes" countries of the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada have banned the use of Lenovo products since the mid-2000s after tests found serious backdoor vulnerabilities.

Lenovo couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. ®

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.