BlackBerry’s 9,000 patents worth up to US$5 billion


BlackBerry this week announced that it was kicking off an “exploration of strategic alternatives” that could see the company get sold off, enter into a strategic partnership or joint venture as well as other outcomes (including maintaining status quo). With a global market share that has plummeted to single digits and sales that show no sign of turning around, what could BlackBerry offer to a potential suitor? What about some 9,000 BlackBerry patents? At least one person believes that they could be one if its most valuable assets.

BlackBerry has  5,236 active U.S. patents and another 3,730 active applications in the wireless communications space. Together, these could be worth between US$2 and US$3 billion if a consortium with a cross-licensing agreement decided to buy them, according to Chris Marlett, CEO of MDB Capital Group. But that number could go even higher: “If (there’s) a bidding war, I think the number can go as high as $4 billion to $5 billion,” Marlett explains. He also adds that:

“This is probably the last big and current [wireless] portfolio available. I don’t expect any other wireless-focused portfolio this big will come up for sale again anytime soon, so there will be intense interest in this portfolio.”

As for who might be interested, the names will not surprise anyone: Apple, Google, Samsung and Microsoft are all named by Marlett as potential buyers. Whereas the first three would likely be interested primarily in the patents, Microsoft could make a bid for both the patents and the BlackBerry business (including BBM and BlackBerry Enterprise Server that could be rolled up into its own offerings), driving the transaction price up to between US$8 and US$10 billion.

If nothing else, it certainly proves that there is value left in BlackBerry despite the challenges it faces to remain a player in the smartphone arena.

Source : AllThingsD