Reportedly, Cerberus Capital Management LP is near an agreement to jointly pursue a bid for BlackBerry Ltd. with two of the beleaguered smartphone maker’s co-founders, according to people familiar with the matter.
Cerberus is discussing a possible joint bid for BlackBerry with Mike Lazaridis and Doug Fregin, who were part of a team that co-founded the company, previously known as Research in Motion, in 1984. It is unclear whether others could join their effort.
Qualcomm Inc., a maker of cellphone chips, is also in talks to join the potential Cerberus group, according to people familiar with the matter.
The jockeying among possible bidders comes on the eve of a Monday deadline for BlackBerry buyout offers. The Canadian company and its advisers set the deadline to coincide with one for Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. to solidify its preliminary offer for the company.
Fairfax, which owns a 10% BlackBerry stake and is led by former company director Prem Watsa, reached a tentative agreement in September to buy the company for $9 a share, or $4.7 billion.
The talks between Cerberus and Messrs. Lazaridis and Fregin underscores the seriousness of their consideration of a takeover of the company—even as such a tie-up would potentially eliminate a competitor from the sales process.
Cooperation between Cerberus and the co-founders could be mutually beneficial, in that it would give the co-founders additional financial firepower for any bid, and give Cerberus a big existing equity stake as a platform for its possible offer. Messrs. Lazaridis and Fregin, who publicly declared their exploration of a potential BlackBerry deal last month, together own about 8% of the company.
Still, the group, should it officially form, may not put in a bid for BlackBerry, the people said.
Other parties that have been considering a bids.
BlackBerry’s stock price moves suggest investors have been skeptical that a deal will be reached at $9 a share, either with Fairfax or someone else. The stock has been trading well below that level, and at midday Friday was down 2.2% at $7.75 on the Nasdaq Stock Market—giving BlackBerry a market value of just over $4 billion.”
As always take a shake of salt in the coming weeks we’ll see action and if any of these vultures are actually going to take a bite.