BlackBerry takeover bid values company at $4.7bn

BlackBerry has confirmed that it has received an offer from one of its largest shareholders to take the company private.

The offer, put forward by a consortium backed by Fairfax Financial sees the company valued at $4.7bn or $9 a share.

Although promising, and good news for BlackBerry given its dire straits at the moment, the deal isn't a done deal.

The consortium will have 6 weeks to conduct due diligence to make sure everything is in order, including that private jet the company bought last month, and another suitor could come in and up the stakes with a higher bid.

"BlackBerry entitled to go-shop during due diligence period, subject to payment of a termination fee in the event alternative offer accepted," BlackBerry said in a statement.

The letter of intent contemplates a transaction in which BlackBerry shareholders would receive $9 in cash for each share of BlackBerry share they hold, in a transaction valued at approximately $4.7 billion. The consortium would acquire for cash all of the outstanding shares of BlackBerry not held by Fairfax.

Fairfax, which owns approximately 10 per cent of BlackBerry's common shares, intends to contribute the shares of BlackBerry it currently holds into the transaction. Until recently the chairman of Fairfax holdings was on the board at BlackBerry.

The news follows the announcement that the company is to shed 4,000 jobs in the coming months and pull out of the consumer space instead focusing on enterprise and prosumer offerings. 

"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," Prem Watsa, chairman and CEO of Fairfax, said.

Other members of the consortium haven't been listed. It is also unsure what will happen to BlackBerry's CEO or what benefit an investment body will bring to help stop the decline of the brand and its offering. 

To put the deal into perspective, it is $1bn less that Microsoft is paying for Nokia and about the same amount of revenue Apple has just reported in the last three days selling the iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S.