Enterprise App News Summary:
- I have fired many jokes at them, but this is too easy. Blackberry is for sale.
- BlackBerry stocks rising, as it puts the For Sale sign on the lawn
- Maybe Lenovo? Nokia and Microsoft balked years ago
- Im going to Vegas now to make a crazy bet: Google buys them out. (1000:1 odds?)
- Full Link.
- Bloomberg News
If the past year’s strategic review wasn’t clear enough, BlackBerry is for sale.
Almost 15 months after first announcing it had hired bankers to help hunt for “strategic alternatives,” BlackBerry Ltd. announced Monday its board of directors has formed a special committee and added a more explicit possibility of a sale to the list of “strategic alternatives.”
After reports surfaced Friday from Reuters that the board would now consider a private-equity led buyout, the company formally announced it was forming the special board group to “explore strategic alternatives to enhance value and increase scale in order to accelerate BlackBerry 10 deployment.”
At one point last year, CEO Thorsen Heins, who will be a part of this new special committee, said the company would entertain buyout offers, but that a sale wasn’t the explicit objective of the “strategic review.”
Still, the announcement of a “strategic review,” typically code for a sale, and the hiring of J.P. Morgan and Royal Bank of Canada had been seen as upping the game and putting BlackBerry up for sale. Prior to the hiring of bankers, the company had phrased the review as a look at “strategic opportunities.”
Monday, the company was even more explicit about a sale, in case any potential buyers out there needed a clearer message, listing it among the possible end games. The company also announced that Prem Watsa, the Chairman and CEO of Fairfax Financial, BlackBerry’s largest holder, would resign from the board in order to avoid conflicts in the sales process. J.P. Morgan will continue to advise the special committee.
A sale of BlackBerry has always been viewed as difficult. Microsoft and Nokia looked at a joint deal once upon a time in 2011, but walked away. China’s Lenovo has been another possible bidder, though analysts raise concerns about whether Canada and the U.S. would allow such a move.
Monday morning, Hudson Research founder Daniel Ernst told CNBC that a Chinese buyer “absolutely” wouldn’t be allowed to buy BlackBerry, pointing to the issues SoftBank ran into while buying Sprint because it had a relationship with Huawei, a Chinese supplier.
The previous strategic review has led to the sale of several assets and the seemingly inevitable official re-naming of the company from Research in Motion Ltd. to BlackBerry Ltd. Meanwhile, BlackBerry’s results have worsened and the BlackBerry 10 hasn’t lived up to expectations.
Investors appear to be hoping for a bit more now, as shares rise 6.7% to $10.42 in premarket trading. Shares were above that level before last May’s announcement of a strategic review.
Related: Will Connors has details on MoneyBeat.