BREAKING: Blackberry gets offer to sell to Fairfax Financial for $4.7 billion


Forgive us for taking a break in news directly related to Android, but we thought this bit of breaking news was damned worth it. Reports are swirling in that Blackberry has agreed in a letter of intent to sell their company to Fairfax Financial for $4.7 billion (a company that already has a pretty large stake in Blackberry). Through the sale, shareholders will receive an extra $9 per share, and the company will be taken off the public market for good.


Fairfax Financial’s chairman and CEO Prem Watsa had this to share in regards to the deal:

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.

To be clear, Blackberry hasn’t officially accepted (and subsequently closed) the deal yet. That could be happening as early as November 4th following a round of voting, approvals and so forth. As such, Blackberry can still entertain other offers, though there doesn’t appear to be many other biters looking for a piece of the pie.

It’s a tough time for Blackberry, with the company having to lay off 4,500 employees following a poor Q2 2013. Sales, or the lack thereof, of the Blackberry Q10 and Z10 were to blame, with the two smartphones positioned as the two captains set to right the ship.

Blackberry has long been rumored to be transitioning into a company that focuses on providing software services for the masses, with the first move poised to be Blackberry Messenger for Android and iOS. That particular release was supposed to take place this weekend, but went horribly wrong after it leaked ahead of schedule.

The result of the leak was a massive server failure, making many Blackberry services difficult to access even for those who actually own Blackberry devices. Blackberry has yet to release any updated details in regards to another attempt to launch the messaging service, though the few people who were excited for it might have already been turned off by this unfortunate episode.

fairfax financial

Some are hoping Blackberry will eventually ditch their homegrown mobile operating system and become a third-party Android OEM, though the chances of that happening are seem quite slim at this point. If someone like Lenovo or Huawei were to buy them things would probably feel different, but it doesn’t look like the train will cross that particular track anytime soon.

Fairfax isn’t particularly well-known for tech investments, with the company making the bulk of its bank on insurance endeavors. That has us wondering about the future of Blackberry as we know it. The aforementioned statement by Watsa doesn’t make it sound like they’ll be auctioning off separate pieces of the Blackberry business to highest bidders, but that very well could happen.

Of particular interest will be Blackberry’s hardware business, and all of the juicy patents they have under their control. It will be some time before we see what this new long-term strategy turns out to be, but the microscope is focused squarely on their backs.

[via Bloomberg]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Blackberry is terminated

  2. Sharpen up the axes, its time to chop it up and sell the pieces!

  3. BB is officially done

    1. Yea officially that is confirmed with this news, but we all know they havent been relevant for years! 7 year ago who would have guessed it?

      1. Yeah true. 7 years ago I dreamed of a BlackBerry

      2. What’s relevant is this: where do all the BB users go to now?

          1. I hope Samsung is prepared for this. There are a lot of unhappy corporate types who don’t know what to do.

          2. they need to all buy Nexus phones……

          3. Good joke. Nexus devices aren’t for corporate people. Google has questionable information combing practices. I think Apple gets all the corporate guys for now.

          4. So Apple is now the “I’m a PC guy”?

        1. what users? you mean teens with their parents hand me down phones?

    2. I have the same bleak outlook on blackberry as you do. but when I say it, I get downvoted, and when you say it, you get upvoted, lol

  4. Even if Fairfax Financial puts android on their future phones, it still wouldn’t be able to compete with the pure android Nexus devices Google releases…. I’m not sure how they will be able to turnaround blackberry into something that is once again profitable.

    1. The purpose of this was NOT to put Android platform on the phones. The plan will be to sell the company in pieces and salvage whatever they can to make a marginal profit.

      The Blackberry company you know will no longer exist.

      1. Winner.

      2. I never said the purpose was to put android on the phones….. the point I was trying to make is that my outlook on blackberry is bleak. if they continue with their current mobile O.S., my outlook is still bleak, if they put android on it, my outlook is still bleak for blackberry… that’s the point I was trying to make.

        1. I have no idea what you are trying to say. Blackberry would never put Android on their smartphones. Also, its pretty safe to say they will no longer sell smartphones, PERIOD.

          Everyone knows the outlook is bleak.

          1. I’m talking about blackberry phones (regardless of whomever owns them)

          2. Even last week the report was they were no longer selling to consumers

  5. They’ll be back just like Twinkies

  6. A life insurance company?

  7. I wonder if the company is just a screen for the REAL purchasers? From what I can tell of Fairfax Financial, they’re just a shares trading company.

  8. Sounds more like a greedy/slug group of investors than an actual tech company. I don’t get why a tech company didn’t buy BlackBerry???

    1. What company would want BlackBerry? Is there anything in their technology/patent profile worth having?

    2. I don’t think Microsoft can buy BB because it’s not Canadian (they’d want it for the business connections, not actual tech). Canada doesn’t have that many tech companies and if BB goes, it will be a big loss.

    3. Quite simple—Tech companies would not want to buy a company that posted a 1 billion dollar loss in the past quarter. Be smart about this. Blackberry is finished.

      1. “Tech companies would not want to buy a company that posted a 1 billion dollar loss in the past quarter.”

        Only Microsoft would…

        1. Yep and Nokia is doing such a great job in the mobile market. Lol

          1. and Elop may be their next CEO!

  9. Will go down as one of the worst purchases within 24 months.

  10. Well at least it isn’t going into bankrupt

  11. I’m just gonna go ahead and say it. I’m gonna miss Blackberry.

    Yes, yes… They have been irrelevant for many years now, and I can’t speak much about recent phones.
    The Blackberry Bold (I think it was 2009 when I bought it) was my first every smartphone, and it set the standard with its amazing qwerty keyboard (best qwerty keyboard that was every on a phone… period) and build quality. Not to mention the sick Iron-Man-like trackball that lit up. I never really had issues with that phone, but until Android started picking up, I switched to the HTC Hero.

    Blackberry has been dead since 2010 in my opinion. But one thing I hope gets sold to one of the Android manufacturers is its qwerty keyboard patents. I have yet to find a decent Android phone with a decent keyboard on it, which is primarily why I never got back to physical keyboards on phones. Have a BlackBerry qwerty keyboard on an Android phone with flagship specs, and I’d hop on it.

    1. I agree with you. My first smartphone was a Curve 8300. There is definitely a nostalgia factor here.

      1. I remember thinking the multi-color LED’s for the notification light was friken’ awesome… I would customize that for different people who called me. I’ve always been a fan of customization, which was the primary reason why I switched to Android. Huge nostalgia factor here.

    2. I’m in the same boat. I sometimes miss my Bold I had on T-Mobile. It’s a simple device and it functioned well enough. Anyway, here’s to the good times RIM. You poor bastards.

    3. You never used the G1 then. It had the best keyboard bar none.

  12. “Through the sale, shareholders will receive an extra $9 per share, and the company will be taken off the public market for good.”

    Stockholders are not going to receive an extra $9/share, they will receive $9/share.

  13. They are going to chop blackberry into 3 parts, hardware, software and services.

    I see it…

    1. Correct…No one will buy the hardware though (which is evident)

      1. You wrong. Have you ever came to Indonesia for example? All people use BlackBerry. And most simply cannot afford even mid range Android, let alone iPhone. The internet is slow and expensive. So, BlackBerry device with BBM are their choice.

        1. Get real. Blackberry as a company is dead. Their hardware is worthless in many key markets. Why would they continue hardware sales if they just posted a loss of 1 billion on unsold hardware.

        2. There are cheaper androids to fill that market. BB hardware is worthless without the services and if that’s gone, there’s no point.

  14. That’s too bad. if BB supported Android apps, things would change to a degree for them. I like my 64GB BB Playbook, it has a great web browser with Flash support; however, more apps are defenitely needed. BTW, It records GREAT quality videos.

  15. Blackberry is officially dead.
    The only value they really have is in I.P.
    Fairfaix will own all Blackberry’s patents. Unless they have serious emotional attachment to the hardware there is no reason for them to continue with it.
    Patents will make them money while hardware will cost them money.
    When you salvage a sunken boat you take the valuables, NOT the worthless.

  16. If I were BB I would call myself an innovating technologies company but in reality just become a patent troll. They can’t come back from the dead, but at least they could make *something*.

  17. Uh oh, Phandroid. There’s a typo up there where a B was used instead of an M.

  18. Hmmm this is interesting for Sammy….Buy up those patents Sammy :)

  19. They should have adopted Android.

  20. Google or Samsung should one up that offer… BB has a boatload of amazing patents they could def make use of!

  21. As one commenter put it: “The media will finish off Blackberry!!!!!”. Carry on guys.

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