BlackBerry prepares for $4.7bn sale after major losses

BlackBerry prepares for $4.7bn sale after major losses
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

September 24th 2013 at 10:30AM

Fairfax consortium looks to acquire struggling mobile company

Embattled smartphone firm BlackBerry is set to be acquired by a consortium led by Fairfax Holdings following crippling losses and major layoffs at the firm.

The acquisition is worth around $4.7 billion, and the Fairfax consortium would purchase all oustanding shares in the company. Fairfax itself currently owns ten per cent of shares in the firm.

As part of the transaction, BlackBerry would become a private company.

Despite the offer, BlackBerry is still consider alternatives to the Fairfax consortium deal.

“We believe this transaction will open an exciting new private chapter for BlackBerry, its customers, carriers and employees," said Fairfax CEO Prem Watsa.

"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.”

Earlier this week BlackBerry said it expected to report reported an operating loss of up to $1 billion following the poor performance of its Z10 smartphone.

This resulted in the company laying off 4,500 staff, just under 40 per cent of its global work force.

BlackBerry now appears to have abandoned its attempts to take on Android and iOS in the apps space, with the company refocusing its attention on end-to-end hardware, software and services for enterprise and professional users.