updated 03:30 pm EDT, Sat September 14, 2013
BlackBerry buyers could split operations
A number of potential bidders for troubled Canadian smartphone maker BlackBerry are weighing the possibility of carving up the company's operations into smaller portions, according to reports. As Reuters notes, no one appears to be interested in taking on the whole of BlackBerry's operations, which have failed to produce a profit for some time and continue to lose market share. The firm is currently worth roughly $5 billion. In 2008, its value peaked at around $84 billion.
A number of private equity firms are said to be interested in BlackBerry's operating system and the patents around its keyboard, according to sources. Several firms are said to have recently signed confidentiality agreements with BlackBerry in order to get access to its financial records. A sale of the firm has been expected for some time, and earlier this month reports emerged that such a transaction could be completed by the end of November.
BlackBerry's assets include its services business, which powers the highly secure BlackBerry Messenger platform and is worth between $3 and $4.5 billion; its patent portfolio, worth $2 to $3 billion; and its $3.1 billion in cash and investments.
Despite the firm's ongoing troubles, a buyout may not be the easiest thing to accomplish. The Canadian government will review any takeover bid for the company, and Ottawa has already expressed that it wishes to see BlackBerry succeed as a Canadian company.
There is also the possibility that investors in the firm will make a bid to take it private. A BlackBerry board member expressed earlier this month his belief that the phone maker could continue on in a niche role, so long as it reduced its operational expenditures to be able to support such a role. BlackBerry has been firing staff and shuttering factories for more than a year now in its turnaround bid, but the devices the firm has produced have failed to capture consumer imagination.