UPDATE 1-China Oceanwide buys Lenovo parent stake for $404 mln

Fri Sep 4, 2009 6:19am EDT

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* China Oceanwide Holdings to buy 29 pct stake in Legend * Legend owns about 45 pct of Lenovo, world No. 4 PC maker

* Analysts say sale will have no direct impact on Lenovo

By Melanie Lee

SHANGHAI, Sept 4 (Reuters) - China Oceanwide Holdings Group, a private investment firm, said on Friday it has bought 29 percent of Legend Holdings, the parent of the world's No. 4 PC maker, Lenovo (0992.HK), for 2.76 billion yuan ($404.1 million).

China Oceanwide was founded in 1988 and has holdings in real estate, finance and energy. It bought the stake from the asset management unit of the Chinese Academy of Sciences who had previously owned 65 percent of Legend Holdings.

A spokeswoman for China Oceanwide told Reuters the firm's stake in Legend will be locked up for 5 years and that more information would be available at a media event in Beijing next Tuesday.

China Oceanwide's website states that it has a registered capital base of 4 billion yuan, meeting a key requirement of the Academy when it sought buyers last month.

The Academy wanted to spin off Legend to better improve its corporate governance.

A spokeswoman for Legend Holdings said the deal would make China Oceanwide the group's third-largest shareholder. Legend Holdings owns more than 45 percent of Lenovo, data from Thomson Reuters shows.

Lenovo dominates its home PC market in China, but has struggled on the world stage, especially in developed markets, since its landmark acquisition of IBM's (IBM.N) PC assets in 2004.

Analysts had said previously they did not expect the sale to have a direct impact on Lenovo.

Founded in 1984 as a spin-off of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lenovo started as a distributor for foreign brands and began its own production in 1990.

Lenovo's share of the global PC market in the second quarter rose 0.5 percentage points to 8.7 percent, research firm IDC said, reversing consecutive quarters of falling market share.

Lenovo reported a third straight quarterly loss in April-June, but the loss was smaller than expected thanks in part to China's massive stimulus package, stabilising consumer demand and a slew of cost-cutting measures. [ID:nTP97926] (Additional reporting by Kelvin Soh in Taipei; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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