Post a Comment Print Share on Facebook
Featured David Cameron Best FIFA Men Turkish Speaking SME awards Czech Turkic Business Forum
banner4

reads.

BlackBerry may put itself up for sale

BlackBerry, which pioneered mobile email with its first smartphones and email pagers, said on Monday it had set up a committee to review its options, sparking a debate over whether Canada's one-time crown jewel is more valuable as a whole or snapped up piece by piece by competitors or private investors. The company said Prem Watsa, whose Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd is BlackBerry's biggest shareholder, was leaving the board as BlackBerry determines its next steps. Canada's Globe and Mail newspaper said Fairfax was talking to industry and private equity players about possibility taking BlackBerry private. Fairfax did not respond to requests for comment. Other potential buyers of BlackBerry assets, if not the company itself, could include deep-pocketed Canadian pension funds, as well as some of its rivals. BlackBerry, once a stock market darling, has bled market share to Apple Inc and phones using Google Inc's Android operating system, and its new BlackBerry 10 smartphones have failed to gain traction with consumers.

BlackBerry shares rose more than 10 percent to $10.78 in New York and C$11.13 in Toronto in afternoon trading. But the shares remain well below their levels in June, before the company reported dismal results that included poor sales of the BlackBerry 10 that it viewed as key to a turnaround.

The share price peaked at about C$150 in June 2008, when BlackBerry, then known as Research In Motion, had a market capitalization of more than $80 billion.

BlackBerry's assets include a shrinking, yet well-regarded services business that powers its security-focused messaging system, worth $3 billion to $4.5 billion; a collection of patents that could be worth $2 billion to $3 billion; and $3.1 billion in cash and investments, according to analysts.

Even at a conservative estimate, that is more than the company's $5.4 billion market capitalization, although analysts say the smartphones that bear its name have little or no value and it might cost $2 billion to shut the unit that makes them.

BlackBerry's fate is likely to involve the Canadian government, which vets foreign takeovers of domestic companies. The government said it would not comment on speculation, but a spokesman for Industry Minister James Moore said the government wished BlackBerry well in its search for new options.

Companies tipped as possible partners for BlackBerry have included Microsoft Corp and Amazon.com Inc, as well as Lenovo Group Ltd, where a senior executive said earlier this year the Chinese computer maker would consider a bid for BlackBerry to boost its own mobile business.

But Chinese involvement would trigger deep concerns about security issues from the Canadian government.

Sources say Wall Street bankers have also pitched deals involving BlackBerry to companies such as HTC Corp and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, so far without success.

Watsa said Fairfax has "no current intention" to sell its BlackBerry shares - some 10 percent of the company. But if he remained on the board of directors, he would have a conflict of interest if he wanted to be part of a play for BlackBerry.

"I continue to be a strong supporter of the company, the board and management as they move forward during this process," he said in a statement.

Analysts expressed scepticism about the new committee, noting that BlackBerry announced a review more than a year ago when it hired JPMorgan and RBC as financial advisers. A source said both are still involved in the current strategic review.

Avatar
Your Name
Post a Comment
Characters Left:
Your comment has been forwarded to the administrator for approval.×
Warning! Will constitute a criminal offense, illegal, threatening, offensive, insulting and swearing, derogatory, defamatory, vulgar, pornographic, indecent, personality rights, damaging or similar nature in the nature of all kinds of financial content, legal, criminal and administrative responsibility for the content of the sender member / members are belong.