Cisco Named as Possible BlackBerry Suitor

Cisco, Google and Samsung have been identified as "potential strategic buyers" of BlackBerry assets, according to a Reuters report.

The ailing Canadian smartphone and data services specialist, which is losing market share, cutting headcount and suffering crippling operating losses, has already signed a letter of intent to sell itself to a consortium led by Fairfax Financial Holdings in a deal that values its shares at $9 each. (See BlackBerry to Cut 4,500 Jobs and BlackBerry Inks Deal to Go Private.)

But BlackBerry is now scoping out M&A alternatives, according to the report, and has contacted a number of major industry names that could be interested in buying some or all of the company. Those companies include Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), LG Electronics Inc. (London: LGLD; Korea: 6657.KS) , Samsung Corp. , and SAP AG (NYSE/Frankfurt: SAP).

BlackBerry investors will be keen to see a deal done quickly, as the company is expected to burn through much of its cash during the next two years, while the value of its assets, such as its patents, licensing deals, and global data service infrastructure, is set to diminish in the near-term.

Concerns about the company's financial position and ability to operate a viable business have hit its share price in recent weeks, but renewed speculation about additional M&A interest has given the company's stick a lift in pre-market trading early Monday, with BlackBerry's share price rising more than 5 percent to $8.11, though that is still some way below the Fairfax-led consortium's offer.

— Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

Kruz 10/10/2013 | 6:52:53 AM
Re: Google? As clearly identified by Stephen Elop, it's now a battle of ecosystems and not a battle of Handset manufacturers.

In this race, the big 3 are all in (Google, Microsoft and Apple), and might leave no room for other players, on the longer run. It only makes sense that any of these names will pop up as a potential buyer. The buyout might probably only be for the sake of strengthening their positions as leaders or runner up by migrating the existing BB subscribers.

While Apple has its complete ecosystem and Microsoft is showing progress, Google hasn't been able (yet) to benefit from its Motorola acquisition and might be highly interested in potential BB customers.
Cellco 10/9/2013 | 8:44:33 AM
Re: Google? 2 of 3 suitors make for a desire of quick purchase 1) current investors to start any-type of controlled sale or turn-around for cash preservation, no new initiatives 2) or financial firms to sell of the pieces with transfer contracts for additional revenue while obtaining the remaining cash for more leverage activities.  The one group who wants to slow role this is the asset purchasers who can wait for devaluation and keep the IP off-the-Market and out of competition.
DOShea 10/7/2013 | 9:02:23 PM
Re: Google? Also sounds like these deals, if they happen and if they are just for pieces of BlackBerry, will not be very significant in the grand scheme of things to the buyers. If it ends up buying one division, that's a slow day for Cisco's M&A team.
Phil_Britt 10/7/2013 | 3:05:29 PM
Re: Google? BlackBerry might still have some valuable pieces, but the longer the company continues as a going concern, the less valuable those pieces will be. The longer before the company gets a capital infusion through a sale/takeover, the less capital will be available to ensure that current offerings don't deteriorate, or deteriorate further.
tb100 10/7/2013 | 1:18:24 PM
QNX Don't some of Cicso's routers use the QNX operating system (as part of IOS XR)? (Cienna, Adtran, and Infinera too, according to QNX's website). QNX is part of Blackberry.  I'm sure Cisco is very interested in what happens to this division..
Sarah Thomas 10/7/2013 | 11:23:09 AM
Re: Google? I think you're right, Ray. I don't really see what any of those companies would want with ALL of BlackBerry, but I do think it makes sense for them to take a chunk. The patents, enterprise business, BBM, etc might attract interest, but the mobile devices business along with all of that is a harder sell.
[email protected] 10/7/2013 | 10:53:58 AM
Re: Google? Even though BBerry's network has bene hacked by the national security agencies, that global data network is still pretty tight as such networks go... maybe Google fancies getting its hands on that?

It's all rather exploratory, though -- it's possible many of these cmpanies are having a good rut around the business for hidden gems they can try to cherry pick from whichever cmpany takes the whole shebang (which is surely the only way it's going to be sold)...

I also see that Microsoft's name has been bandied about in certain analysis but... 

The whole episode is still rather shocking - the speed at which BlackBerry was felled by Android and iOS.

DanJones 10/7/2013 | 9:31:47 AM
Google? I *suppose* I could see Google being interested in the still-large user base of BB Messenger. Otherwise what could they possibly want it for?
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