Fairfax Financial to become the new proud owner of the company formerly known as RIM - unless a better deal arrives.
Following BlackBerry's loss of up to $995 million in its fiscal Q2 and plans to fire 4,500 employees, financial services firm and existing shareholder Fairfax – who owns around ten per cent of shares – has bought the fellow Canadian company for $4.7 billion ($9 per share).
The agreement isn't watertight, however, and Fairfax can walk away from the deal subject to a due diligence period that runs until November 4th 2013, while BlackBerry is also able to sniff around for other proposals.
In August, BlackBerry formed a special committee and said it may sell itself as part of a survival plan. The fact a buyer has arrived so quickly suggests the company was already in numerous talks with businesses.
Barbara Stymiest, chair of BlackBerry’s board of directors, said: "The Special Committee is seeking the best available outcome for the company's constituents, including for shareholders. Importantly, the go-shop process provides an opportunity to determine if there are alternatives superior to the present proposal from the Fairfax consortium.”
Prem Watsa, chairman and CEO of Fairfax, said: “We believe this transaction will open an exciting new private chapter for BlackBerry, its customers, carriers and employees. We can deliver immediate value to shareholders, while we continue the execution of a long-term strategy in a private company with a focus on delivering superior and secure enterprise solutions to BlackBerry customers around the world."