Oct. 9, 2013, 6:50 PM
- Bloomberg reports BlackBerry (BBRY) is "more open to a breakup" as doubts continue to swirl Fairfax Financial will be able to obtain the funding needed for its $9/share bid to succeed.
- The news service adds SAP, Cisco (CSCO), and Samsung (SSNLF.PK, SSNGY.OB) were "approached last week by BlackBerry advisers," and indicated they’re "only interested in parts of the company." That provides a bit of color to Saturday's Reuters report.
- Intel (INTC) is said to be open to bidding for BlackBerry's patents, but nothing else.
- BBRY -1.4% AH
- Earlier: Canadian pension fund still weighing BlackBerry investment
Oct. 9, 2013, 4:06 PM
- Mark Wiseman, CEO of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB): "It would be fair to assume that we would analyze that and try and make a determination as to whether it makes sense on a risk-adjusted basis for us to participate in a financial bid." That's hardly a guarantee an offer is on the way, but it nonetheless led BlackBerry (BBRY +1.6%) to rally in afternoon trading.
- Wiseman mentioned two months ago CPPIB is open to taking a stake in BlackBerry, but that was well before the FQ2 warning arrived.
- Another Canadian pension fund, Alberta Investment Management., is also considering taking part in a BlackBerry bid. However, the firm's CEO recently declared the proceedings "the most bizarre sales process I’ve seen in a long time," and added no one has "come to us with a proposal that makes any sense."
- Reuters reported over the weekend Cisco, Google, and SAP are in talks related to buying part or all of BlackBerry. Shares have bounced a bit this week, but remain 9% below Fairfax's (funding-dependent) $9/share offer price.
Oct. 5, 2013, 12:25 PM
- Blackberry (BBRY) is in talks with Cisco Systems (CSCO), Google (GOOG), and SAP (SAP) about selling itself whole or piecemeal according to "several sources," Reuters reports.
- The strategic buyer route provides an alternative to Fairfax's $9/share bid (~$4.7B), which some speculate has little chance of securing financing. P-E firm Cerberus has also expressed interest in the ailing company.
- According to sources, potential corporate buyers have been "especially interested in BlackBerry's secure server network and patent portfolio, although doubts about the assets' value remains an issue." Analysts believe Blackberry's security-focused messaging system could be worth $3B-$4.5B, and its patent trove $2B-$3B. However, a company filing disclosed that the value of its patent portfolio and licensing agreements could halve in the next 18 months.
- TechCrunch speculates that "an enterprise-focused bidder — such as SAP or Cisco — might make the best fit for BlackBerry’s security-focused messaging handset business at this point, with the consumer smartphone marketplace now primarily centred on Android and iOS."
Oct. 2, 2013, 1:16 PM
- The WSJ reports Cerberus, which specializes in distressed investments, is looking to sign a confidentiality agreement with BlackBerry (BBRY +1.3%) that would give it access to the company's books, but hasn't decided whether to pursue a bid.
- The paper adds "at least one other distressed-investing firm has also been sniffing around BlackBerry," but also says the firm's identity and current interest level are unknown.
- More on BlackBerry
Oct. 2, 2013, 12:58 PM
Sep. 25, 2013, 9:37 AM
- With Prem Watsa's Fairfax Financial not putting additional cash into its BlackBerry (BBRY -2.2%) acquisition offer and having failed to provide details about its buyout consortium, skepticism is growing the deal will get the financing it needs.
- Wedge Partners' Brian Blair: "Watsa is trying to salvage his 10 percent investment in the company and create a backstop while other potential investors hopefully bid it up."
- Fund manager Marc Gross suggests financing could arrive if it's secured by BlackBerry's patents. Raymond James estimates the company's patents, software licenses, and network could be worth $2.8B.
- Watsa, for his part, is making the case his deal would avoid the regulatory review that would come if BlackBerry was to be acquired by a foreign firm.
- Shares are now 7% below Fairfax's offer price, and not far removed from where they traded before the deal announcement.
Sep. 23, 2013, 9:58 PM
- Fairfax Financial will merely roll over its existing 9.9% BlackBerry (BBRY) stake into its $9/share buyout offer, and won't invest any more cash. Prem Watsa tells Bloomberg his firm will rely on other investors to finance the rest of the deal via equity and debt.
- The news service reports Watsa has held talks with Mike Lazaradis (previous) to get the BlackBerry co-founder and his 5.7% stake to join Fairfax's effort; Watsa said in an interview today Lazaridis isn't yet involved.
- In addition, sources state P-E firms Blackstone and KKR decided to pass on BlackBerry, and that Fairfax's consortium is "in flux."
- BBRY -0.7% AH to $8.76.
- More on BlackBerry
Sep. 23, 2013, 1:34 PM
- BlackBerry (BBRY) has signed a letter of intent to be acquired by a consortium led by Prem Watsa's Fairfax Financial for $9/share in cash, or $4.7B. Fairfax already owns 10% of BlackBerry. (PR)
- Diligence is expected to be completed, and a formal transaction agreement signed, by Nov. 4. Until then, BlackBerry can evaluate alternative proposals.
- The deal has a termination fee of $0.30/share to $0.50/share.
- BlackBerry remains halted. Shares last traded at $8.24.
- Update: Shares will resume trading at 2PM ET.
Sep. 21, 2013, 4:22 PM
- Sources tell the NYT BlackBerry (BBRY) Mike Lazaridis has "separately approached" P-E firms Blackstone and Carlyle about a possible bid for the company he co-founded. They caution talks are preliminary.
- The WSJ has also reported of Lazaridis' interest in a bid, but is short on details.
- Lazaridis was BlackBerry's co-CEO (along with Jim Balsillie) until last year, and still owns a sizable minority stake that could help facilitate a deal. Some of the remarks he made during his tenure (e.g. "There will never be a BlackBerry with an MP3 player or camera.") wound up being infamous.
- Yesterday's giant FQ2 warning and layoff announcement could allow Lazaridis to obtain a lower price, but it might also make P-E support harder to come by.
Sep. 20, 2013, 3:07 PM
Sep. 18, 2013, 2:30 PM
- The WSJ reports BlackBerry (BBRY -0.6%) is "preparing to make deep staff cuts by the end of the year via layoffs that could cost up to 40% of its employees their jobs." The paper adds the job cuts "will cut across all departments and will occur in waves, likely affecting several thousand employees."
- BlackBerry has already been trimming headcount as it evaluates M&A options and contends with weaker-than-expected BB10 hardware sales. However, there hadn't been any indications to this point of layoffs on the scale suggested by the WSJ.
- Director/former Sony Ericsson chief Bert Nordberg recently asserted BlackBerry can survive as a "niche company."
- BlackBerry had 12.7K employees as of March, and over 17K two years ago. FQ2 results arrive on Sep. 27.
- Separately, BlackBerry has announced a BBM Android app will launch on Saturday, and a BBM iPhone app on Sunday.
- Earlier: BlackBerry launches Z30 (formerly the A10)
Sep. 15, 2013, 3:58 AM
- Interest in acquiring Blackberry (BBRY) has reportedly been tepid, but the handful of suitors that are looking at the struggling company would be more open to buying parts of the firm than the whole business.
- A few private-equity funds have signed NDAs so they can start looking at BlackBerry's books. However, a number of the largest P-E firms and some Asian hardware manufacturers are not interested in any deal.
- Analysts reckon that BlackBerry's services business, which powers its security-focused messaging system, is worth $3-4.5B and its patents $2-3B, while it also has $3.1B in cash and investments. On the flip side, analysts ascribe little-to-no value to the company's mobile phone unit and estimate that it could cost $2B to close. BlackBerry's market cap is $5.4B.
Sep. 11, 2013, 1:12 PM
- BlackBerry (BBRY -2.6%) is set to talk with lawmakers about the Investment Canada Act, which covers the acquisition of local firms by foreign companies. Any acquisition worth more than C$344M ($332M) is automatically reviewed.
- BlackBerry's actions come amid reports Prem Watsa is having trouble getting Canadian pension funds to join his efforts to take BlackBerry private. The NY Post previously reported BlackBerry would prefer a "Google-like" buyer (almost certainly a foreign company) over a P-E firm.
Sep. 9, 2013, 7:56 AM
- BlackBerry's (BBRY) shares are +4.2% following a report in the U.K.'s Sunday Times that former director Prem Watsa has lined up billions of dollars in backing from Canada Pension Plan Investment Board to take the troubled handset maker private.
- Other Canadian pension funds are seen supporting Watsa's bid as well.
- Watsa, whose Fairfax Financial is Blackberry's largest shareholder with a 10% stake, resigned from the company's board in August after it said it was considering selling itself.
Sep. 4, 2013, 4:10 PM
- Sources tell the WSJ BlackBerry (BBRY +5.9%) is " aiming to run a fast auction process that could be wrapped up by November." The report led shares to spike just before the close.
- Meanwhile, sources tell Bloomberg Microsoft (MSFT -2.2%) is "keeping an eye" on BlackBerry in the wake of the Nokia deal. Given Microsoft's commitment to Windows Phone, any interest in BlackBerry from the software giant could be related to the company's BES/network operations center assets rather than its hardware ops.
- The reports come as analysts continue to cut estimates. BlueFin Research says its checks indicate there have been major BB10 production cuts, and that BlackBerry has "amassed significant component and finished goods internal inventories, while many carriers and retailers are not restocking."
Aug. 28, 2013, 12:14 PM
- Rumors Lenovo (LNVGY.PK) will make a $17/share bid for BlackBerry (BBRY +5.3%) are fueling a rally in the latter company's shares.
- BlackBerry shares have already soared more than once this year on Lenovo speculation (I, II) that didn't pan out. But that was before the company began formally evaluating "strategic alternatives" widely believed to include a sale.
- The fact Lenovo's market cap only stands at $10B means acquiring BlackBerry in full wouldn't be easy, should the Chinese PC/smartphone giant be interested.