A consortium of investors lead by Toronto-based Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. have offered to increase their role from BlackBerry’s largest shareholder to its majority owner for $4.7 billion, Howard Solomon reports on IT World Canada.
Fairfax had been bandied about by members of the press and other BlackBerry prognosticators as soon as Prem Watsa, the CEO, left the board of BlackBerry to avoid any conflicts of interest. BlackBerry shares had recently been trading above $10 on the NASDAQ and TSX until it broke the news on Friday that it would take a $1 billion writedown on its unsold inventory and lay off about 40 per cent of its staff. The price offered by the Fairfax consortium values BlackBerry at $9 USD per share, slightly above the $8.49 price on the TSX when shares were frozen to announce the deal.
Watsa has previously expressed interest in keeping the Waterloo, Ont.-based smartphone maker operating as one firm. Others have speculated that it may have to sell the company off in pieces – such as its patent portfolio, hardware manufacturing business, and enterprise solutions divisions. But the deal doesn’t negate that possibility.
Blackberry said on Friday that it’s getting out of the consumer market, instead focusing on its core business users and “prosumers” looking for a higher end device.