When the iPhone was originally launched in 2007, experts across the globe claimed it would never be able to compete against the #1 smartphone maker at the time – BlackBerry. Fast-forward six years and the iPhone 5s and 5c just had the best smartphone launch weekend ever, while BlackBerry just entered a letter of intent to sell itself for $4.7 billion.
The company announced that a private group, led by Fairfax Financial, has offered to purchase it. The deal isn’t final just yet though as BlackBerry has been granted a six-week due diligence period where it can listen to other offers and will only be subject to a termination fee is it accepts a more lucrative offer for its smartphones and patents.
Prem Watsa, Chairman and CEO of Fairfax, had the following to say regarding 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.”
The Diligence Period ends on November 4th, 2013, so one way or another it looks like BlackBerry is officially a goner. The deal would give BlackBerry shareholders $9 per share in cash while taking the company private. Fairfax currently owns about 10 percent of BlackBerry’s common shares and will acquire all outstanding shares for cash.