The embattled smartphone maker BlackBerry announced today it has a $4.7 billion sale offer from Fairfax Financial to take the company private. Fairfax has signed a letter of intent to buy BlackBerry for $9 a share. The buyout firm already owns 10 percent of the company, BlackBerry said in a statement. “We believe this transaction will open an exciting new private chapter for BlackBerry, its customers, carriers and employees,” Prem Watsa, chairman and CEO of Fairfax, said in a statement. “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.” SEE MORE AFTER CUT>>>>>>
BlackBerry, once a leading mobile phone company, announced last week that it will lay off over 4,500 employees or 40 percent of its workforce. After warning of a surprise billion-dollar second-quarter loss, the company’s stock fell more than 20 percent Friday. BlackBerry said in a statement it expects to report quarterly revenue of $1.6 billion, compared with $3.04 billion that was expected, and a $950 million operating loss. Brian Colello, analyst with Morningstar, said the offer from Fairfax was “expected” based on the company’s warning on Friday. “We saw little hope for the company as a standalone business,” Colello told ABC News, adding that there is “no real hope” for the BlackBerry 10. Colello said Fairfax’s offer is priced at Blackberry’s cash plus its patents.