updated 07:02 pm EDT, Fri November 1, 2013
Qualcomm may team with equity firm on BlackBerry buy
Qualcomm may be in talks to partner with Cerberus Capital Management to enter a bid to take over struggling Canadian smartphone manufacturer BlackBerry. A report in The Wall Street Journal pegs the chipmaking giant and the private equity firm as latest parties to be considering a takeover of BlackBerry, which has been stuck in a downward spiral in the face of tough competition from Apple and manufacturers of devices running Google's Android operating system. The deal would lash Qualcomm tighter to one of its customers, as BlackBerry already relies on Qualcomm to supply chips that go into its underperforming smartphones.
The Journal's report on the supposed talks gives no information on any proposed price or management arrangement were the deal to materialize. It does, though, note Qualcomm's interest in propping up a customer, as well as Cerberus' history of investing in struggling companies. Also said to be participating in the talks are BlackBerry co-founders Mike Lazaridis and Doug Fregin.
BlackBerry is widely thought to be on its last legs, as the company publicly stated its pursuit of a buyer some months ago. Multiple tech giants - including Lenovo, Google, and Samsung - have been rumored as possible buyers, but only Lenovo has stepped forward to say that it was looking at the possibility. The Chinese computer maker is currently examining BlackBerry's financial documents ahead of any announcement. SAP was also rumored to be a possible buyer, but that firm recently denied that it had any strategic interest in BlackBerry.
In late September, BlackBerry's largest investor, Fairfax Financial Holdings, put forward a deal to take the smartphone maker private for $4.7 billion. Fairfax, though, has had trouble securing funding for that buyout arrangement.