Ailing BlackBerry may be broken up for sale

No one bidder interested in whole company; business units could be sold to separate buyers

Tags: Blackberry (www.blackberry.com)CanadaMergers and acquisitions
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Ailing BlackBerry may be broken up for sale BlackBerry has fallen from a peak market worth of $84bn to just over $5bn. (Getty Images)
By  Stephen McBride Published  September 15, 2013

Initial interest in struggling Canadian smartphone vendor BlackBerry has been lukewarm, insiders told Reuters, and any sale of the company could take the form of separate bidders taking on individual parts of the business.

BlackBerry has tried a number of strategies to redirect its formerly business-oriented ecosystem to the consumer market, including fresh handsets and a new platform in January, coupled with a rebranding of the company from Research in Motion to the name of the handsets that had yielded its past success.

January's launch has been followed by a number of budget models, in an attempt to drive revenues in emerging markets.

Shareholders were not convinced. The company, which has fallen from a 2008 peak market worth of $84bn to just over $5bn, may be sold, as a whole, to a conglomerate of a Canadian pension fund and an investment firm. But most private equity firms that have expressed interest are focused on the company's keyboard patents and its operating system.

Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd, BlackBerry's largest shareholder is already trying to forge a partnership with any one of a number of Canadian investment funds, to buy out shareholders and take the company private. Fairfax chairman Prem Watsa last month resigned from BlackBerry's board, citing conflict-of-interest issues.

Any deal is subject to review by the Canadian government for competitive and national security purposes.

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