List of potential BlackBerry bidders grows to include Google and others


It appears that Fairfax Financial Holdings is not the only company interested in acquiring BlackBerry or pieces thereof after all. While a letter of intent was signed for a deal worth US$4.7 billion, BlackBerry remains free to continue shopping itself around to other parties. And despite an early lack of interest, more companies are now apparently taking a closer look at the beleaguered manufacturer.

According to Reuters, BlackBerry has held talks with Google as well as Cisco and SAP about an outright sale or for various pieces of itself. Private equity firms such as Cerberus Capital Management are also reportedly mulling bids. BlackBerry has also asked for “preliminary expressions of interest” from a number of other potential buyers, including Intel, LG and Samsung. Interest in BlackBerry’s secure server network and patent portfolio in particular may lead to bids from one or more of these companies in the coming weeks.

Potential bidders face a difficult choice. It is widely expected that the value of BlackBerry’s patent portfolio could drop by half within the next 18 months. The company’s value is also in rapid decline. Should they wait to see how much further prices will drop at the risk of losing out to a competitor willing to pay now to secure the assets it wants?

Asked about the interest of the companies above, a BlackBerry spokesperson would only say that “The special committee, with the assistance of BlackBerry’s independent financial and legal advisors, is conducting a robust and thorough review of strategic alternatives.”

If nothing else, it appears that BlackBerry may have more suitors than was initially expected. It could help BlackBerry meet its target of selling itself by November and perhaps even for more than Fairfax is offering.

Source : Reuters