BlackBerry is reportedly in talks with Google, Cisco and SAP about the sale of all or parts of the ailing smartphone maker’s business, in order to line-up an alternative to the $4.7 billion offer made by Fairfax Financial.
According to Reuters, the potential suitors have been (unsurprisingly) interested in the company’s secure network and patent portfolio, but are less enamoured with its device manufacture activity. However, there value of these assets is not immediately clear, making it difficult to assess the value of a bid.
The report also said that BlackBerry has asked for preliminary expressions of interest from companies including Intel, LG and Samsung, which would be due imminently.
Last week BlackBerry provided more details of its operations, which indicate that it is struggling to gain traction among its core enterprise user base. With such buyers looking for stability in their deployments, the company’s uncertain future is certainly not going to help.
With BlackBerry having opted to focus on enterprise customers, there is something of a fit with companies such as Cisco and SAP, which would be able to bolster their mobile proposition through a deal.
It is less clear why Samsung, the global handset number one, or LG Electronics, which has recently seen its handset business return to profit after a prolonged period of losses, would feel the need to acquire a struggling handset maker.
It has been reported that “distressed investment specialist” Cerberus Capital Management is set to look at BlackBerry’s books, with at least one other similar player “sniffing around”.
This came as scepticism grew about the Fairfax Financial deal in its current form, due to a number of factors – including the lack of detail on its partners in the bid, question marks over the financing of the bid, and whether due diligence will raise valuation issues.
Last week, Bernstein Research warned that BlackBerry is likely to burn through the majority of its $2.6 billion cash pile in the next 18 months, causing serious problems unless the company is able to do something to stabilise its position – or ink a deal with an acquirer.
Separately, Associated Press said that a class action lawsuit has been filed by a disgruntled BlackBerry shareholder, stating that the company had misled investors about its performance and outlook.