1. Homo Erectus's Avatar
    (Reuters) - BlackBerry Ltd is warming up to the possibility of going private, as the smartphone maker battles to revive its fortunes, several sources familiar with the situation said.

    Chief Executive Thorsten Heins and the company's board is increasingly coming around to the idea that taking BlackBerry private would give them breathing room to fix its problems out of the public eye, the sources said.

    "There is a change of tone on the board," one of the sources said on Thursday.

    No deal is imminent, however, and BlackBerry has not launched any kind of a sale process, the sources said. Even if it tried, BlackBerry could find it hard to come up with a buyer and the funding to go private. With the company still posting losses and bleeding subscribers, private equity firms and other buyers may not want to step up.

    The company's shares have fallen more than 19 percent this year. Its market value has fallen to $4.8 billion, from $84 billion at its peak in 2008.

    BlackBerry, which had been pinning its hopes for a turnaround on its new line of BlackBerry 10 devices, declined to comment. The sources declined to be named because these discussions are private.

    BlackBerry's openness to consider a deal marks a radical shift in thinking at the once high-flying smartphone maker. Until recently, BlackBerry, formerly known as Research in Motion and a pioneer in providing secured emails on handheld devices, had been bent on staying independent, betting its turnaround on its latest smartphones.

    Last month, Heins said the company was on the right track and just needed more time to fix its problems. He said the company will unveil more devices that run on the BlackBerry 10 operating system over the next eight months.

    The company has also been looking at options such as licensing its BlackBerry 10 software and other partnerships.

    Waterloo, Ontario-based BlackBerry has recently had discussions with private equity firm Silver Lake Partners about potential collaboration in enterprise computing, one of the sources said.

    Silver Lake is caught in a bruising $25 billion battle to take Dell Inc private. Should it succeed in the Dell buyout, one possibility could be for it to collaborate with BlackBerry in mobile computing, where the PC maker has struggled to gain traction, the source said.

    The talks with Silver Lake did not involve any buyout or other transaction-related discussions, the source said.

    Silver Lake declined to comment.

    Pressure is only increasing on the smartphone maker. BlackBerry 10 sales have come in well below some analysts' expectations, raising questions about whether the company can quickly win back market share from Apple Inc's iPhone as well as Samsung Electronics Co Ltd's Galaxy devices and other phones powered by Google Inc's Android operating system.

    Some investors say the company must now look at all of its options, from a sale of the whole company to a sale of parts. Its valuable patent portfolio and high-margin services business could draw interest from technology companies.

    But private equity firms have circled the company for more than two years and have tried without success so far to figure out ways to structure a deal.

    Moreover, Ottawa reviews any big takeover of a Canadian company for competitive and national security reasons. Government officials have often said they want BlackBerry to succeed as a Canadian company, but concede they do not know how things will play out.

    Exclusive: BlackBerry open to going private, sources say | Reuters
    08-09-13 11:16 AM
  2. pkcable's Avatar
    08-09-13 11:19 AM
  3. RubberChicken76's Avatar
    Having seen companies go private, I can kinda see why they'd look at it, but it would be challenging.

    There is definitely a positive in that they can do a lot of things outside the public eye. Given the media fascination with BlackBerry's decline, it would help shield than from the public eye to do certain tasks and eliminate a lot of the "OMG - the executive in charge of janitorial services has resigned. BlackBerry doomed!" stories.

    In the companies I've seen that have gone private though, the public view that remains is, "are they still in business?" Even if the company does a good job getting the books in order, growing the user base, making acquisitions etc, the lack of news causes people to think they vanish.

    In the case of BlackBerry, they have a lot of big contracts that likely depend on whether people have a sense of if they'll be around. Without the public disclosure of numbers, cash, profit, pipeline etc, it makes it that much harder to convince a DOD you'll be around in 5 years.

    Also, would be an expensive undertaking. They don't have the cash to buy themselves and are likely way too big for a venture capitalist to buy up.
    08-09-13 04:38 PM
  4. kfh227's Avatar
    I almost wonder if silver lake is paying for negative news to depress the share price so that they can steal the company.

    Posted via CB10
    08-09-13 06:45 PM
  5. raino's Avatar
    I almost wonder if silver lake is paying for negative news to depress the share price so that they can steal the company.
    But doesn't a buyout usually drive up share prices?
    08-09-13 06:49 PM
  6. ArmedHitman's Avatar
    So the secret meetings and all these rumors... But wasn't the shareholders holding BlackBerry down to merge innovating ideas and make them into something? Doing this would really change how BlackBerry works!
    08-09-13 07:16 PM
  7. kfh227's Avatar
    But doesn't a buyout usually drive up share prices?
    Shareholders will be more likely to take a lower bid.

    Posted via CB10
    08-10-13 09:54 PM
  8. njblackberry's Avatar
    The conspiracy theories never end. If only BlackBerry was as that creative.

    If anyone has any evidence - even a shred - that a company, hedge fund or individual is driving down the price of a stock, contact the SEC and Canadian authorities.

    And don't ever - EVER - consider that the sole source for the poor stock performance is the company itself.
    JeepBB likes this.
    08-10-13 09:56 PM
  9. mset's Avatar
    Also, would be an expensive undertaking. They don't have the cash to buy themselves and are likely way too big for a venture capitalist to buy up.
    Way too big for a private equity firm or I-bank? I think not. Their market cap is around 2.9 billion. That would make it a run-of-the-mill buyout in I-bank terms.

    This is a $10 stock with $6/share in cash and no debt! I hate to say it, but it's a measure of how uncertain their future is that they haven't been snapped off at higher levels. The precipitous declines in their key numbers are keeping people away; any other stock that had 60% of its face value in cash would be causing fistfights on Wall Street as various I-banks/private equity firms tried to gain control.
    08-11-13 02:28 AM
  10. mset's Avatar
    The conspiracy theories never end. If only BlackBerry was as that creative.

    And don't ever - EVER - consider that the sole source for the poor stock performance is the company itself.
    Ummmm... the second sentence seems to imply some sort of conspiracy.
    08-11-13 02:35 AM
  11. pkcable's Avatar
    08-13-13 10:34 PM

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