8/14/2013 10:46:09 AM
BlackBerry's largest shareholder 'readies rescue bid'
BlackBerry's future could be as a private company as its largest shareholder reportedly readies a rescue bid.
Amid growing suggestions that rivals are cool about an acquisition of the Canadian company, largely because of opposition from the Canadian government to an overseas takeover, The Financial Times reported the company's largest shareholder was prepping a rescue bid.
Fairfax Financial's Prem Watsa stepped down from the board of directors on Monday, when BlackBerry announced it was effectively putting itself up for sale, to avoid any future conflict of interest. Watsa's firm owns almost 10% of BlackBerry and analysts claimed he was assembling a consortium to take control of the manufacturer. Peter Misek from Jefferies said: 'We think Prem Watsa’s resignation from the board supports a possible LBO [leveraged buyout] scenario. We believe Fairfax along with other Canadian pension funds and banks are considering taking BlackBerry private.'
Misek estimated that BlackBerry could be brought private with an offer of $15 per share, valuing the company at just under $8bn. Stuart Jeffrey of Nomura added: 'The best possible long-term outcome for BlackBerry is to cease hardware production for the consumer market and to adapt all its applications to work on iOS and Android, and so become an almost pure service/application provider of corporate cloud applications. We believe that this would be a difficult and painful transition and one that might be best suited to a company that is private rather than publicly listed.'
Author: Graeme Neill