Lenovo To Acquire Stoneware; Computer Hardware Manufacturer Ventures Into Cloud Computing

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By Valli Meenakshi Ramanathan | September 18, 2012 7:14 PM EST

The second largest computer manufacturer in the world, Lenovo Group Ltd (0992), has decided to acquire U.S.-based software company Stoneware Inc. marking its venture into cloud computing, the Wall Street Journal has reported.

The financial terms of the acquisition are yet to be disclosed. Stoneware develops software that is used by governments and schools to synchronize data across multiple mobile devices, Mark Cohen, vice president at Lenovo, told Bloomberg.

This is claimed to be Lenovo's second acquisition in less than three weeks. Earlier, on Sept. 5, Lenovo announced plans to buy Sao Paulo, Brazil-based consumer electronics group CCE for $147 million.

Bloomberg reports that Lenovo will use Stoneware to build "public cloud" for consumers. The service is billed as a competitor to Apple's iCloud, which lets users store music, movies and applications and access them via the Internet wirelessly.

Stoneware is said to have 67 employees on its rolls in Salt Lake City, Utah, and provide cloud computing products for the public and education sectors.

The acquisition is tipped to close at the end of 2012, and there are said to be no job losses from the purchase, the Wall Street Journal added.

The company's software helps users store data remotely so that it is accessible across a wide variety of devices. Stoneware provides a classroom management system that helps teachers manage their students' computers, distribute assignments and monitor content students access, according to the Wall Street Journal.

At 1:03 p.m., Lenovo shares (0992) were unchanged at HK$6.32 (US$.81). Reportedly, the shares gained 22 percent this year compared with 12 percent rise in benchmark Hang Sang Index.

Based in Beijing and Morrisville, N.C., Stoneware's acquisition marks Lenovo's first software buy. Previously, Lenovo acquired the PC division of IBM in 2005. In 2011, the company acquired Medion AG (MDN), a Germany-based computer maker and the PC unit of Tokyo-based NEC Corp, Bloomberg added.

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