BlackBerry agrees sale to biggest shareholder

Fairfax-led consortium to take smartphone pioneer private for $4.7bn

Tags: Blackberry (www.blackberry.com)CanadaMergers and acquisitions
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BlackBerry agrees sale to biggest shareholder BlackBerry’s woes began when a previously business-oriented market became consumer-focused. (Getty Images)
By  Stephen McBride Published  September 24, 2013

Canadian smartphone vendor BlackBerry has agreed a $4.7bn sale to its biggest shareholder, which will take the once market darling private.

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The initial $9-per-share offer has been tabled by a consortium led by Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. To avoid potential conflicts of interest, Fairfax chief executive Prem Watsa resigned from BlackBerry's board when plans of the company's sale were made public.

Any counter-bid must be lodged before November 4 - by which time Fairfax must also have completed due diligence - but Reuters reported that BlackBerry shares closed $8.82 on the Nasdaq exchange, indicating investors' doubt that other interested parties will emerge.

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"I would think a competing buyout offer is quite unlikely," said Elvis Picardo, strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver. "The miniscule premium, and the muted market reaction, is another indication that the market views the odds of a competing bid as slim."

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