Nov. 8, 2013, 3:26 PM
- Sources tell Reuters plenty of tech companies expressed interest in buying parts of BlackBerry (BBRY +1.1%), but were shot down by a board that felt a breakup "did not serve the interest of all stakeholders, which include employees, customers and suppliers in addition to shareholders."
- Reuters is now reporting Microsoft and Apple were interested in BlackBerry's patents, and past reports have claimed Lenovo, Cisco, Intel, and Google were interested in part or all of BlackBerry. Ottawa reportedly turned Lenovo away due to security concerns. Also, John Sculley has said he was lining up a bid before BlackBerry announced its $1B, Fairfax-led, debt deal.
- The report comes as BlackBerry discloses its financing deal comes with a breakup fee that could range from $135M-$250M (depending on the circumstances). The company has also disclosed new chairman/interim CEO John Chen is being given $85M worth of restricted stock units (vesting over five years) as part of his compensation package.
Nov. 6, 2013, 2:27 PM
- Reuters reports a Qatari sovereign wealth fund invested as much as $200M in BlackBerry's (BBRY -1.2%) $1B convertible debt offering. A source says the fund was compelled to invest due to offering's yield (6%).
- The purchase is noteworthy both due to its reported size (only a little smaller than Fairfax's $250M commitment), and the fact the Middle East remains a relative stronghold for BlackBerry.
- Meanwhile, ex-Apple CEO John Sculley (previous) says he and other investors were lining up an offer for BlackBerry before the debt deal was announced, and were "pretty confident" they could pull it off.
- Sculley's comments come after The Globe and Mail reported Lenovo was serious about trying to acquire BlackBerry, but was (unsurprisingly) told by the Canadian government a deal would be shot down due to security concerns related to BlackBerry's network. No word on whether Lenovo would have been interested in a deal excluding BlackBerry's network, or whether Ottawa would've relented in such circumstances.
Nov. 5, 2013, 9:41 AM
- BlackBerry (BBRY +3.5%) has been upgraded to Hold by Deutsche and SocGen, and cut to Underperform by CIBC, in the wake of yesterday's events.
- NQ Mobile's (NQ -12.6%) rating has been suspended by Piper as the Muddy Waters debate continues to boil. SA contributor Goldbaum Research has provided another bearish column this morning.
- SunEdison (SUNE +4.9%) has been upgraded to Overweight by Piper ahead of tomorrow's Q3 report.
- Rovi (ROVI -3.3%) has been cut to Sell by Goldman a week after missing Q3 estimates and cutting full-year guidance.
- TTM Technologies (TTMI +10.6%) has been upgraded to Overweight by JPMorgan a few days after tumbling due to a Q3 miss, soft guidance, and a CEO change.
Nov. 4, 2013, 3:43 PM
- Though new BlackBerry (BBRY -16.9%) chairman/interim CEO John Chen suggests he'll focus on making the company a leader in business services, he says there are no plans to shutter BlackBerry's money and share-losing phone business.
- Chen does promise additional C-suite changes for the struggling company following Thorsten Heins' ouster, and foresees BlackBerry's turnaround taking at least six quarters.
- Chen's track record at Sybase - he helped the transform a second-tier database vendor into an early leader in enterprise mobile apps - has raised hopes among BlackBerry investors, and so have his ties to P-E firm Silver Lake, which just helped take Dell private. However, Chen insists his decision to join BlackBerry has nothing to do with Silver Lake.
- Prem Watsa has echoed Chen's remarks by saying there are no plans to break up BlackBerry. Watsa also claims (in spite of recent reports to the contrary) he could've lined up enough financing for a BlackBerry LBO, but concluded "a leveraged buyout with high-yield debt and at high interest rates was not appropriate for this company." Canaccord, however, thinks a breakup is still the most likely end-game.
- National Bank has cut shares to Underperform, and MKM has upgraded them to Neutral. The latter is still only giving the company a $6/share sum-of-the-parts valuation ($4 for the services ops, $1.50 for patents, $0.50 for BB10/QNX).
- Previous: BlackBerry receiving $1B in financing, Heins out
Nov. 4, 2013, 12:46 PM
Nov. 4, 2013, 9:18 AM
Nov. 4, 2013, 9:07 AM
- BlackBerry (BBRY) is now down 19.6% premarket to $6.26 after announcing a $1B convertible debt deal led by Fairfax Financial (instead of a sale), and the replacement of Thorsten Heins as CEO and Barbara Stymiest as chairman.
- The fall leaves shares 37% below the $10 conversion price attached to the debt deal.
Nov. 4, 2013, 8:52 AM
- Fairfax Financial and other institutional investors will invest $1B in BlackBerry (BBRY) via convertible debt featuring a 6% yield and a $10/share conversion price. If the debt is fully converted, the shares created by it would be equal to 16% of shares outstanding. If a $250M overallotment option is exercised, that figure rises to 19.2%. (PR)
- Fairfax is paying for $250M of the debt, which has a 7-year term. The deal is expected to close within two weeks.
- Following the closing of the deal, John Chen, formerly the chairman/CEO of database/enterprise mobile app developer Sybase (acquired by SAP in 2010) will be named BlackBerry's chairman, replacing Barbara Stymiest. Thorsten Heins will step down as CEO, and Chen will serve as interim CEO until a permanent replacement is found.
- Also: Prem Watsa (already a director) will be named lead director and head of BlackBerry's compensation committee, and Heins and independent director David Kerr will step down from BlackBerry's board. Stymiest will stay on the board, and head the company's audit committee.
- BBRY is halted. Shares were down 18.5% premarket before the company's official announcement arrived.
- Earlier: BlackBerry reportedly calls off sale, replacing Heins
Nov. 4, 2013, 8:25 AM
- The Globe and Mail reports BlackBerry (BBRY) is abandoning its efforts to find a buyer, and will replace CEO Thorsten Heins.
- The report comes ahead of Fairfax Financial's 5PM ET deadline for shoring up financing for its $9/share bid. Few expected the firm up to come up with the necessary funds.
- Shares -18.2% premarket.
Nov. 4, 2013, 5:00 AM
- Fairfax Financial Holdings (FRFHF) has until 5 pm today to firm up the preliminary $4.7B bid for BlackBerry (BBRY) that the Toronto-based firm made six weeks ago.
- The deadline comes amid reports that Fairfax, which is BlackBerry's largest shareholder with a 9.9% stake, has struggled to secure financing for the deal, while it is also yet to name partners.
- Other bids could come in by the deadline, although it could be extended. Those who are reportedly interested in the beleaguered cell-phone maker include a group that could eventually be comprised of the company's founders, Qualcomm (QCOM) and Cerberus.
Nov. 1, 2013, 5:41 PM
- After barely moving in response to a report Cerberus is thinking of teaming up with BlackBerry's (BBRY) co-founders, shares are up 1.7% AH in response to an update indicating Qualcomm is in talks to join the effort.
- Meanwhile, in a report that's unlikely to surprise many, sources tell Bloomberg Prem Watsa's Fairfax Financial has failed to secure the financing it needs for its $9/share bid, ahead of a Monday deadline.
- Fairfax's advisors, BofA and BMO, have reportedly been "rebuffed by other lenders" whom they reached out to. Credit Suisse is said to have passed after finding "tepid demand" among loan investors for financing a BlackBerry bid.
- Watsa has said Fairfax, which owns 9.9% of BlackBerry, won't be putting any more of its own money into BlackBerry to help pay for an acquisition.
Nov. 1, 2013, 4:55 PM
- A couple hours after reporting Cerberus is exploring a joint bid for BlackBerry (BBRY) with co-founders Mike Lazaridis and Doug Fregin, the WSJ reports Qualcomm (QCOM) is in talks to join the effort
- It's unlikely Qualcomm would have much interest in BlackBerry's hardware ops, which compete against the mobile chip/IP giant's largest customers. But it could find some value in BlackBerry's sizable patent portfolio.
Nov. 1, 2013, 2:55 PM
- The WSJ report has led BlackBerry (BBRY -0.9%) to tick slightly higher. However, shares remain lower on the day.
- Cerberus has already signed an NDA to look at BlackBerry's books, and co-founders Mike Lazaridis and Douglas Fregin (combined 8% stake) have announced their interest in a bid, should they obtain enough funding.
- The report comes ahead of Fairfax's Nov. 4 deadline for completing due diligence on BlackBerry and signing a transaction agreement. Investors are quite skeptical Fairfax will line up the funds it needs to proceed with its $9/share bid.
Nov. 1, 2013, 4:54 AM
- The consortium that bought thousands of Nortel patents for $4.5B in 2011 has sued Google (GOOG), Samsung (SSNLF, SSNGY), HTC (HTCCY), Huawei and four other companies for infringing some of the IP.
- The group, called Rockstar, is owned by Apple (AAPL), Microsoft (MSFT), Blackberry (BBRY), Ericsson (ERIC) and Sony (SNE).
- The patents cited in the suit cover technology that enables targeted advertising on Internet search results - the core of Google's money making machine.
Oct. 29, 2013, 2:14 PM
- The WSJ reports BlackBerry (BBRY +2.5%) execs flew to California to meet with Facebook (FB +0.8%) to "gauge its interest" in a possible bid for the company. Sources state it's unclear if Facebook is interested in playing ball. Nonetheless, BlackBerry shares have caught a bid on the report.
- Facebook joins a very long list of names attached to BlackBerry M&A rumors. The list already includes Lenovo, P-E firm Cerberus, major BlackBerry shareholder Fairfax Financial, and co-founder Mike Lazaridis.
- "If someone knocks on your door, don't answer, it is just Blackberry asking you to buy them," a trader quips to Notable Calls.
- Earlier: BBM Android/iOS downloads top 20M
Oct. 29, 2013, 10:02 AM
- Eight days after officially launching its Android/iOS BBM apps and a week after announcing downloads had passed 10M, BlackBerry (BBRY +1.1%) announces downloads have topped 20M. That, in turn, has increased the size of BBM's base (includes ~60M users on BlackBerry phones) to 80M+ monthly active users (MAUs).
- BlackBerry adds the Android app topped Google Play's free app rankings in 35 countries during its first week, and the iOS apps topped the App Store's free app rankings in 107 countries.
- The download activity comes in spite of critical/muted reviews that tend to highlight missing features.
- BBM is still ranked at #2 on App Annie's U.S. iPhone free download chart, and #6 on its U.S. Google Play free download chart.
- Mobile messaging leader WhatsApp has 350M+ MAUs.