Chatter: What to expect from the BlackBerry sale

September 23, 2013  |  Russ Martin  |  Comments

BlackBerry announced on Monday it has signed a deal to be purchased by Fairfax for $4.7 billion (U.S.). Here’s what the media had to say about the deal, which will only go through if a rival offer is not accepted before Nov. 4. 

Ken Yeung @ The Next Web
Like many others, The Next Web suggested that the sale of BlackBerry is likely about the sum of its parts rather than its potential as a smartphone maker. The tech news site referred to its previous reporting about potential BlackBerry bidders, noting that most parties were primarily interested in the company’s patents – namely those for BB10 and smartphone keyboards – not in attempting to return the company to its former glory as a dominant player in the smartphone market.

“Whatever the result, it’s perhaps welcome news for the company, given that it has been shopping itself around. Potential suitors had indicated that if they acquired BlackBerry, it would only be looking for its operating system and keyboard patents.”

Canadian lifestyle site The Loop likewise suggested that BlackBerry is being “sold for parts,” linking to a story on the sale and noting that the $4.7 billion selling price is not much more than Apple made this weekend selling iPhones (at an estimated $400 profit per iPhone, the nine million sold would account for about $3.4 billion).

Mike Beauchamp @
Business blogger and long time digital strategist Mike Beauchamp highlighted the fact that Fairfax, which owns about 10% of BlackBerry’s shares, wasn’t confident in the company’s leadership prior to the agreement. Beaucahmp also questioned BlackBerry’s intent to focus on the enterprise customers. Once a huge market for the smartphone maker, corporations are increasingly dominated by “Bring Your Own Device” to work policies and consumers have already proven they’re not interested in purchasing BlackBerry devices.

“The big story here isn’t that the company is going private. It’s that BlackBerry’s largest shareholder thinks the current board of directors and executive leadership is garbage and that he and his team can do a better job.”

Larry Dignan @ ZDNet
Noting that late last week Wall Street analysts were urging BlackBerry to make a quick sale, ZDNet provided a detailed breakdown – a sum of the parts valuation via Macquarie. The website also looked at the road map BlackBerry laid out last week, including its intent to focus on enterprise customers instead of the consumer market. The big trouble with that, according the ZDNet, is that enterprise will worry about the stability of BlackBerry.

“BlackBerry said that it plans to focus on the enterprise and specifically security and mobile device management…The plan: BlackBerry will circle the wagons around its enterprise and prosumer business and drop the consumer dream. The challenge with BlackBerry’s plan: Enterprises would worry about the company’s financial footing.”

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