To say the past week has been a rollercoaster for BlackBerry would probably be an understatement, and today that ride continues with the news that the Canadian smartphone manufacturer has entered into a letter of intent agreement to be acquired by a consortium led by Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited. Each BlackBerry investor will receive $9 per share, bringing the total value of the transaction to around $4.7 billion.
Now that the two parties have reached an agreement, a due diligence period will get underway. BlackBerry is allowed to continue to shop itself around during the period, but the company will need to pay a termination fee if it decides to accept another offer. The due diligence period is expected to wrap up by Nov. 4. Once the deal is complete, the consortium plans to take BlackBerry private.
Prem Watsa, CEO of Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited and former member of the BlackBerry Board of Directors, said that his company believes that its deal can be the start of "an exciting new chapter" for BlackBerry and its customers. Looking forward, Watsa believes that his consortium can execute on a long-term strategy of a private BlackBerry supplying secure enterprise services.
As is usually the case with deals like this, today's agreement is subject to approval by the BlackBerry board as well as various regulators. With both the due diligence period and all of the necessary approvals still to go, this transaction is far from a done deal, but it's still big news for the world of mobile. BlackBerry has been having a pretty rough go lately, BlackBerry has been having a pretty rough go lately, but one thing that the company can be happy about is that it found a buyer for itself before November like it had hoped it would. Now we wait for BlackBerry and its consortium to hash out a definitive deal during the diligence period, after which we'll hopefully hear more about the pair's plans for the future.