Last Monday, all the rumors of BlackBerry selling off the company finally came to a head, with the news arriving that Fairfax Financial had put forth a $4.7B offer. While that would give the company some much-needed cash, it left us uncertain as to the future of the BlackBerry brand – and specifically, what it could mean for the possibility of seeing new phone hardware. A lot of discussion surrounding this news since then has treated the buyout as a given, the deal’s not set in stone, and today we hear about a couple other entities that might be interested in making their own bids.
While Fairfax’s offer is on the table, BlackBerry isn’t yet obligated to accept; per the terms of the arrangement, BlackBerry can walk away from the deal by paying a $157M fee. What could make it consider doing so? Well, for one, a couple other firms specializing in snatching-up distressed businesses are looking hard at BlackBerry, and may be able to top that $4.7B offer. So far, only Cerberus Capital Management has been identified, reportedly signing confidentially agreements in order to gain access to BlackBerry’s books.
Another possibility is that a group involving BlackBerry founder and current vice chairman Mike Lazaridis (above) could be interested it making its own bid. It’s not clear what form this might take – Lazaridis has hundreds of millions to his name but would still need some other partners – or Lazaridis might join forces with Fairfax and invest as part of that effort.
Especially if Lazaridis helps usher the company into this new era, it feels like the BlackBerry we’ve known and loved could still continue on in a not-totally-changed manner. In any case, it’s clear that the story on this BlackBerry sale is far from over.