BlackBerry wants to speed up sale process: Report

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After setting up a committee to review its options that included an outright sale, ailing smartphone maker BlackBerry wants to sell its business in a fast auction process by November, if a new report is to be believed.

The Wall Street Journal cites people familiar with the matter to report that BlackBerry’s board is pushing for a quick sale process and that financial companies in Canada and the US, including the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Bain Capital, could consider bidding in the auction to acquire BlackBerry. In addition to these, the report also names Asian tech companies including the Lenovo Group as other possible contenders.

However, Lenovo refused to comment on the matter though Lenovo CEO, Yang Yuanqing, told the WSJ in a recent interview that if a target or deal was consistent with Lenovo’s strategy, it would take the opportunity. Recently, Chinese device and telecom equipment maker, Huawei ruled out buying another mobile phone maker, such as Blackberry, to grow its market share in smartphones.

The WSJ report also adds that the BlackBerry deal would include more than one buyer, each acquiring a part of the company.

BlackBerry had announced on August 12, that it was weighing options that could include an outright sale, and and its largest shareholder, Fairfax Financial Holdings, was stepping down from its board to avoid any possible conflict of interest.

BlackBerry’s assets include a shrinking, yet well-regarded services business that powers its security-focused messaging system, worth $3 billion to $4.5 billion; a collection of patents that could be worth $2 billion to $3 billion; and $3.1 billion in cash and investments, according to analysts.

Following the announcement, the Wall Street Journal also reported that BlackBerry was considering spinning off its messaging service into a separate unit, BBM Inc.

Analysts’ attention has focused on the future of struggling smartphone makers Blackberry and HTC after Microsoft announced its decision to buy Nokia’s handset business on Tuesday. Interestingly, Microsoft has long been rumoured to have interest in BlackBerry’s business as well.


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