BlackBerry founders may table bid: report

Lazaridis, Fregin could square up to Fairfax

Tags: Blackberry (www.blackberry.com)CanadaMergers and acquisitions
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BlackBerry founders may table bid: report Mike Lazaridis may team up with co-founder Douglas Fregin to propose an alternative deal to BlackBerry shareholders. (Getty Images)
By  Stephen McBride Published  October 13, 2013

A securities filing on Thursday by BlackBerry's founders has led to speculation that the pair may table a separate bid for the ailing Canadian smartphone business.

According to a report by Reuters, Mike Lazaridis and Douglas Fregin did not mention explicitly in the filing whether they intended to present a fresh proposal or join the group of financiers led by Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd that has put forward a $9-a-share bid worth $4.7bn.

The filing said that Lazaridis and Fregin hold a combined 8% of BlackBerry. Some 10% is held by Fairfax.

"[Lazaridis is] going to talk to people by himself; he's going to talk to Prem [Watsa, CEO of Fairfax]; he's going to talk to everybody," said Colin Gillis, technology analyst, BGC Partners.

The founders are not thought to have any financing arrangements set up, but doubt also previously hung over the Fairfax deal for a similar shortfall in funding. BlackBerry has reportedly approached a number of other potential suitors, including Cisco, Google and SAP, but no formal bids have yet been received.

BlackBerry was a smartphone pioneer and enjoyed market-darling status until 2008, when Google's Android platform and Apple's iPhone range propelled smart devices into a consumer battleground. Since then BlackBerry's market capitalisation has crumbled from over $80bn to around $5bn, leading the Canadian firm to look for buyers.

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