BlackBerry Acquired By Fairfax Group For $4.7 billion
Toronto: Struggling smartphone maker BlackBerry Ltd said on Monday that it has agreed in principle to be acquired by a consortium led by Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd for $4.7 billion. Fairfax, led by Canadian investor Prem Watsa, owns 10 per cent of BlackBerry.
It has offered to pay $9 a share in cash for the Canadian company, which last week said it expected to report a quarterly loss of nearly $1 billion, along with far weaker sales than analysts had expected.
“We can deliver immediate value to shareholders, while we continue the execution of a long-term strategy in a private company with a focus on delivering superior and secure enterprise solutions to BlackBerry customers around the world.” Watsa said in a statement.
Shares in BlackBerry had plunged since Friday, when the company warned of a sharp drop in revenue and massive job cuts. The group has until November 4 to conduct due diligence. The stock was trading up 27 cents at about $9 on Nasdaq after being halted earlier on Monday. The company was expected to explore “strategic alternatives” in hopes of enhancing the company’s value and boosting adoption of its BlackBerry 10 platform.
BlackBerry shares were set to open 3 per cent lower on Monday after it warned of a huge quarterly loss and at least 15 brokerages slashed their price targets. BlackBerry said on Friday it expected to report a net operating loss of almost $1 billion in the quarter ended August 31, largely due to writedowns on a mountain of unsold BB10 phones. BlackBerry’s US-listed shares, which fell 17 per cent on Friday and have nearly halved in value since February, were trading at $8.23 pre-market.
BlackBerry’s BB10 phones, based on a new operating platform, were billed as marking the turnaround in the company’s fortunes but it has failed to gain market share. The BlackBerry, pioneered in 1999, had been the dominant smartphone for on-the-go business people and other consumers before Apple debuted the iPhone in 2007 and showed that phones can handle much more than email and phone calls. In the years since, BlackBerry Ltd. has since been hammered by competition from the iPhone as well as Android-based rivals.