More interested parties mulling BlackBerry bids

Oliver Smith
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GOOGLE, Cisco and SAP have all been named on the growing list of companies interested in bidding for BlackBerry, the struggling Canadian mobile manufacturer.

Such a bid would come as an alternative to the agreement reached with Fairfax Financial on 23 September to take the company private for $4.7bn, a bid which has faced some skepticism because of financing questions.

Intel, LG and Samsung were also named by Reuters this weekend, but it is unclear which parties will bid, if any.

Private equity firms that have shown interest in BlackBerry – which include Cerberus Capital Management – have reportedly asked the company and its advisers to provide additional financial details about its various business segments over the past week.

Possible bidders are proceeding with caution given the uncertainty around BlackBerry, which last month reported a quarterly loss of nearly $1bn after taking a writedown on unsold Z10 phones.

The value of BlackBerry’s patent portfolio and licensing agreements is likely to halve in the next 18 months, a company filing from last week shows, potentially limiting its attractiveness to suitors.

BlackBerry would have to find such rival bids considerably better than Fairfax’s current offer for BlackBerry to pay the $150m break fee it signed up to as part of the agreement.

BlackBerry first reported its plans for a sale on 12 August when it announced, “the company's Board of Directors has formed a special committee to explore strategic alternatives to enhance value and increase scale in order to accelerate BlackBerry 10 deployment.”

Adding that this could include the possible sale of the company.

JP Morgan and RBC Capital Markets are advising BlackBerry.

The board is reportedly being advised by Perella Weinberg Partners and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and Torys are providing legal advice.