A handful of potential bidders, including private equity firms, are lining up to look at BlackBerry Ltd, a Canadian telecommunication and wireless equipment company best known as the developer of the BlackBerry brand of smartphones and tablets, but initial indications suggest that interest is tepid and buyers are eyeing parts of the Canadian smartphone maker rather than the whole company, according to several sources familiar with the situation.
Private equity firms are mostly interested in businesses such as BlackBerry’s operating system and the patents around its keyboard, two of the sources said.
However, one possibility is for a Canadian pension fund to team up with an investor to buy the whole company, which is currently worth a little more than $5 billion, one of the sources said.
BlackBerry’s biggest shareholder, Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd, has approached several large Canadian investment funds about forging a deal to take the smartphone maker private, Reuters reported last week.
Fairfax has a 10 per cent stake, and its chairman and chief executive, Prem Watsa, has left BlackBerry’s board to avoid any possible conflict of interest as the company assesses its strategic options.
Nevertheless, in recent days a few private equity firms have signed confidentiality agreements or have agreed to meetings with the company to gain access to the company’s books, the sources said, adding that the sale process was expected to start in a few weeks. BlackBerry declined to comment. Source
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