Fairfax BlackBerry Deal Deadline Looms

Fairfax Financial Holdings is struggling to find the $4.7bn needed to secure its buyout of BlackBerry, according to Reuters.

The company is working with Bank of America, Merrill Lynch and BMO Capital Markets to raise the necessary capital to pay off BlackBerry shareholders at $9 per share, a deal tentatively struck in September. But BlackBerrys catastrophic financial results, as well as a share price that has struggled to reach above $8 since mid-September, are discouraging potential investors.

The Canadian insurance firm Fairfax, which already owns 10 per cent of the smartphone company, is required to complete its due diligance by today. Led by Prem Watsa, who resigned from the BlackBerry board before the deal was put on the table, Fairfax posted a net loss of its own for Q3 of $571.7m.

BlackBerry has still been able to explore other options during this time. Co-founders Mike Lazaridis and Douglas Fregin filed papers with the US Securities and Exchange Commission last month that said they were exploring a joint bid. They have reportedly been joined by private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP and chip maker Qualcomm.

Reuters previously identified Cisco, Google and SAP as still discussing BlackBerry bids. Facebook has also reportedly been in talks with the company, and BlackBerry may split up and sell its different divisions separately.

Any further participants must make their bids by todays deadline.


The Globe and Mail reports that the Fairfax deal has fallen through. The Canadian newspaper says that BlackBerry has scrapped plans for an auction and will instead raise $1bn in new funds by selling convertible notes – a financial instrument typically reserved for early stage angel investors – to a group of existing investors. CEO Thorstein Heins is also stepping down, the report said.