BlackBerry to Sell to Fairfax Financial for $4.7 Billion

Mike Lazaridis to take BlackBerry private?

BlackBerry‘s been on the auction block since August, following a rough couple years. Now it looks like an offer’s been made , to the tune of $4.7 Billion dollars. The Once-great smartphone maker, Research in Motion signed a preliminary deal to be acquired by a Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd, a consortium headed by Prem Watsa who currently holds 10 percent of BlackBerry’s shares.

Canadian multi billionaire Watsa is known as the “Warren Buffet of Canada”. Like Buffet, he made his billions by acquiring and selling business. Prem Watsa joined the board of RIM last year, in a reshuffle that saw the Co CEOs and founders give up their position to current CEO Thorsten Heins

Mr Watsa released a short statement about the tentative acquisition and his group’s plans for the future:

“We believe this transaction will open an exciting new private chapter for BlackBerry, its customers, carriers and employees. 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.”

RIM’s Blackberry devices dominated the early smart phone market, providing full keyboards and access to email and other business applications on the go. But the company was far too late to the game after Apple’s iPhone brought user-friendly touchscreen control to mobile. BlackBerry rapidly lost market share to Apple and Android devices.

BlackBerry has until November 4 to seek another offers, but analysts aren’t predicting anything better will come along. The date is also the deadline for Fairfax Holdings to conduct its due diligence. BlackBerry’ s shares were up on the NASDAQ after the announcement.

[Via: The New York Times]

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