BlackBerry signs tentative $4.7 billion deal to sell itself to Fairfax

Sept. 23, 2013 at 2:55 PM

TORONTO, Sept. 23 (UPI) -- Canadian smartphone developer BlackBerry, formerly Research in Motion, said it had signed an agreement to sell itself for $4.7 billion to Fairfax Financial.

Fairfax Financial Holdings has agreed to an all-cash deal valued at U.S. $9 for each BlackBerry share it does not already own. Fairfax Financial, based in Toronto, already owns 10 percent of BlackBerry, the companies said in a statement.

The agreement sets up a "go shop" period of six weeks in which BlackBerry can entertain better offers.

The deal is contingent on a process of due diligence, negotiations and execution of a definitive agreement and approval by regulators, the companies said.

A special committee set up by the BlackBerry board to seek alternative corporate strategies "is seeking the best available outcome for the company's constituents, including for shareholders," said BlackBerry Chairwoman Barbara Stymiest.

"Importantly, the go-shop process provides an opportunity to determine if there are alternatives superior to the present proposal from the Fairfax consortium," she said.

Coincidentally, Apple Inc., one of the companies that now dominates the smartphone market that BlackBerry pioneered, announced Monday it had sold 9 million of its latest iPhone devises, which went on sale Friday in 11 markets around the world.

Last week, news reports said BlackBerry had plans to cut up to 40 percent of its workforce of 12,700.

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