1. icedkermit's Avatar
    Having read several postings, articles and comments on the potential sale of BlackBerry, its very clear most people have no clue about what this entails. So let me attempt to break it down.

    There are two types of buyers. 1. Financial and 2. Strategic.

    Financial buyers acquire companies, fixed them up/grow them and then sell them. This can be done either through an IPO (BlackBerry would become public again), sale to another financial buyer or sale to a strategic.

    Strategic buyers are large companies like HP, Microsoft etc. If this happens, goodbye independent BlackBerry, hello who knows.

    Who are Financial Buyers?

    Financial buyers can be broken into two groups. 1A. Private Equity and 1B. Pension funds.

    1A. Private equity funds (TPG, Silver Lake) raise money from investors with the mandate of buying companies, fixing them up/growing them and selling them at some point. Most funds have a 10-year life. The first 5 are spent investing and the last 5 are spent preparing the companies for sale. This means most investments are held between 4 and 7 years.

    1B. Pension funds do the same as private equity funds, but are able to hold their investments for much longer periods of time. In theory, they dont ever need to sell a good investment, but most do so they can redeploy the money into higher growing investments.

    Who are the Strategic Buyers?

    Many have been mentioned. Microsoft, HP, Dell, Amazon, Lenovo are a few. Should BlackBerry be acquired by one of these companies, no one knows what exactly will happen to the BlackBerry as we know it. Surely the current execs will be tossed out (and rightly so). Lots of outcomes are possible. If a great company acquires them and knocks it out of the park, then we can continue to look forward to BlackBerry surviving in some capacity as we know it, but better. The 2.0 Z10 will be amazing. Otherwise our current Z10s/Q10s may be the last awesome phone well ever own before having to choose between Android and Apple.

    How Soon Could Something Happen?

    At a minimum takeovers take a few months from the time they are announced. They can be as quick as 3 or 4 months or like Dell and drag out over a year. For any takeover to happen, shareholder approval is needed. This can be done by a vote or by submitting your shares to an offer.

    Why We Should Care Who Buys BlackBerry?

    A Financial buyer is likely going to keep BlackBerry together. It makes no sense to split to company up. It didnt work for Palm, it wont work for BlackBerry and its one of Apples core advantages over Android. New owners would focus on improving management, replacing most, if not all, of the Board. The larger private equity funds have connections to most fortune 500 companies in some capacity. This would likely help with this nonsense of BlackBerry not being supported by U.S. carriers, being dumped by companies in favor of iphones/androids. The BES10 argument would be made easier. A financial buyer essentially becomes the sole shareholder and its much easier for a Board to be held accountable to one large shareholder than many very small shareholders. It makes having honest conversations easier. Thats not to say bad decisions wouldnt be made or BlackBerrys survival is guaranteed, but the theory is that this improves their chances.

    Strategic buyers need to have reasons beyond just making money. It needs to fit into their overall strategy. Its here where wonky things can happen or amazing things can happen. I noticed a few people mentioned Amazon as their preferred buyer and personally I believe they make the most sense for several reasons. The risk with a strategic is they may pick and choose what they keep, what they dont and how they integrate what theyre currently doing. A strategic buyer may not like the BlackBerry brand name or already have their own. My biggest fear is that a Microsoft buys BlackBerry and butchers it with their ineptitude. Amazon would make a great acquirer as they already have an amazing tablet, cloud processing and tons of content. They lack the corporate email and hand held units which make great sales points for content.


    In the end, BlackBerry users continue to want an awesome product and the only way that this remains possible, is if BlackBerry the company remains a viable entity. They face several issues right now and I personally believe going private would help the company. My preference would be for a strong financial company to do this as it would likely mean that BlackBerry could once again re-emerge as a public company in a few years time. BB10 is a very special software and I much prefer it versus iOS and Androind. It's not perfect either and I believe this is where a proper owner could really add value. Assuming a new buyer "gets" what BlackBerry is about, they could re-focus, re-energize and re-invigorate this company, something the current management has tried and is failing at (I won't get into a rant about how unqualified half the current Board is).
    08-12-13 06:01 PM
  2. ranzabar's Avatar
    Nice cut-n-paste job
    VJMotz likes this.
    08-12-13 06:20 PM
  3. icedkermit's Avatar
    No cut and paste here ranzabar.
    08-12-13 06:25 PM
  4. ranzabar's Avatar
    Well then you must be bored
    08-12-13 06:42 PM
  5. sosumi11's Avatar
    No matter who buys BlackBerry, once a sale is made, the brand gets tarnished even further. Palm went through several buyers and splits before HP:

    1992 - Palm Computing
    1995 - US Robotics
    2000 - 3Com
    2002 - PalmSourcs (Palm OS)
    2005 - palmOne
    2005 - ACCESS (paid $25m for PalmSource)
    2007 - Elevation Partners (25% share strategic partnership)
    2010 - HP
    08-13-13 10:17 AM
  6. icedkermit's Avatar
    Not necessarily. If a financial buyer acquires BlackBerry, the brand name stays and new capital will be injected into the company. A new owner that clearly has the financial staying power would improve the certainty/confidence of the company, reinvigorate the brand, refocus marketing and as users, we would benefit.

    If a strategic buyer gets involved, then all bets are off. If the buyer adds innovation, marketing dollars and improves upon the system, then we all benefit. The problem with Palm is they split hardware and software and then were acquired by HP who did an awful job integrating them. I believe a Microsoft acquisition of BlackBerry would be the same.

    So I disagree with your first statement of it doesn't matter. It does. You're points are most likely valid if a strategic acquires them.
    08-13-13 10:53 AM
  7. kojita's Avatar
    So fairfax+canada pension funds (or something like that) would be good for BlackBerry I guess. Going private.
    The other option would be a strong partnership. But in which areas, we already saw one with Panasonic, another could be with content (amazon) ?

    Posted via CB10
    08-13-13 05:18 PM
  8. icedkermit's Avatar
    The most ideal situation is for BlackBerry and Amazon to merge their respective hardware businesses (BlackBerry handhelds and Amazons tablets) into a joint venture. BlackBerry would provide the operating system and Amazon would provide content and the cloud infrastructure running Blackberry's servers.

    In that scenario though, I don't there's enough upside for Amazon. They'd be better off just buying BlackBerry.

    Who knows what will happen. I just hope that 2 or 3 years from now I'm not forced to but an Android or iPhone because BlackBerry no longer exists.

    Posted via CB10
    08-13-13 09:04 PM
  9. pkcable's Avatar
    08-13-13 10:21 PM

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