Watsa, Fairfax Lead $4.7B Offer for BlackBerry
BlackBerry today announced that it has agreed to sell itself for $4.7 billion to a consortium ed by Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited, which plans on taking the Canadian OEM private.
As part of the deal, which is subject to six weeks of due dilligence, BlackBerry shareholders would receive $9 in cash for each share of BlackBerry that they hold. Fairfax, which owns approximately 10 percent of BlackBerry’s common shares, intends to contribute the shares of BlackBerry it currently holds into the transaction.
The trading of BlackBerry shares was halted at 1:22 ET preceding the announcment at around $8.23 and has since resumed trading. As of 2:15 ET, shares were up 1.5 percent to $8.85.
Prem Watsa, chairman and CEO of Fairfax Financial, left BlackBerry's board after the company said early last month that it was looking into what it called "strategic alternatives." Watsa cited potential conflicts of interest as his reason for leaving.
In a statement, Watsta said the 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,” Watsa said.
Fairfax is allowing BlackBerry shop around for another buyer during due diligence period. However, BlackBerry is subject to payment of a termination fee in the event an alternative offer accepted.
The news comes after BlackBerry on Friday announced it would lay of roughly 40 percent of its workforce as part of a massive restructuring. The company also reported on Friday that it expected a net operating loss of approximately $1 billion for the second quarter of its fiscal 2014. (http://www.wirelessweek.com/news/2013/09/black-day-blackberry-stock-falls-20-dismal-financial-update).