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Report: BlackBerry open to breakup

BlackBerry’s $4.7 billion dollar deal with Fairfax Financial may be in jeopardy, with BlackBerry stock trading below Fairfax’s $9-per-share offer price. Today Bloomberg is reporting that the troubled Canadian smartphone maker is talking to other suitors, and that each of these potential buyers only wants a slice of BlackBerry’s pie. The challenge of course will be finding homes for all of BlackBerry’s assets in a way that maximizes shareholder value.

The companies that BlackBerry advisors have talked with include Cisco, Google, SAP and Samsung, according to reports. Another oft-mentioned buyer is Microsoft, which shares with BlackBerry a loyal base of corporate customers. But Microsoft may have its hands full with Nokia, having just agreed to buy that company’s handset business.

BlackBerry currently has less than 3% of the smartphone market, down from a high of more than 50% just a few years ago. So its device business may not be its most valuable asset. In contrast, its patent portfolio is of interest to a number of recent entrants into mobile, and its software business is valuable. BlackBerry Messenger remains one of the world’s most popular messaging apps, and its Mobile Fusion device management solution for business leverages BlackBerry’s strength in data encryption.

Intel reportedly told one source that while it doesn’t want to enter a bidding war, it might take a look at BlackBerry’s patents. Another casualty of the slowdown in PC sales, Dell, might also come forward. As a private company, Dell should have more flexibility to move quickly should it decide to bid for a slice of BlackBerry.

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Martha DeGrasse
Martha DeGrasse
Martha DeGrasse is the publisher of Network Builder Reports ( At RCR, Martha authored more than 20 in-depth feature reports and more than 2,400 news articles. She also created the Mobile Minute and the 5 Things to Know Today series. Prior to joining RCR Wireless News, Martha produced business and technology news for CNN and Dow Jones in New York and managed the online editorial group at Hoover’s Online before taking a number of years off to be at home when her children were young. Martha is the board president of Austin's Trinity Center and is a member of the Women's Wireless Leadership Forum.

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