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U.S. Panel Clears Lenovo-IBM Deal

A U.S. government panel cleared the deal for China's Lenovo to acquire the personal-computer operations of IBM after a review of national security issues, the companies announced March 9.

A joint statement from the firms said the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), an interagency U.S. government panel that can block mergers for national security reasons, had cleared the deal. CFIUS rarely blocks a business acquisition, but an investigation that uncovers objections may force companies to scrap or modify their plans.

A statement from IBM and Lenovo, issued both in New York and Beijing, said that the CFIUS review "was concluded in advance of the statutory deadline."

Under the deal, Lenovo will produce IBM-branded computers and IBM will have an 18.9% ownership share in Lenovo Group.

The review by CFIUS of the IBM-Lenovo deal was based on concerns that the Chinese group could obtain sensitive technology, possibly "dual-use" -- civilian and military -- technologies that could be used for civilian or military purposes, analysts said.

The CFIUS panel is chaired by the U.S. Treasury secretary and includes the heads of the Departments of Homeland Security, State, Defense, and Commerce, the attorney general, the Office of Management and Budget, the U.S. Trade Representative, and the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2005

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