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BlackBerry descent begets cheapest technology takeover

First Published      Last Updated Sep 24 2013 08:45 am
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"I would be surprised if someone would come in and outbid Fairfax," the analyst said. "If someone were to buy them out, by now they would have made that decision. I don't know why they'd go after the asset today rather than one year or six months ago. Nothing has really changed."

That means $9 a share may be the best BlackBerry shareholders are going to get, said James Faucette, a Portland, Ore.-based analyst at Pacific Crest.

"I actually think this is a pretty attractive offer for shareholders," he said in a phone interview. "Honestly, if they were to let it go a few quarters, it would be meaningfully worse."

While there's value in BlackBerry's intellectual property and enterprise platform, it's difficult to envision a competitor or another technology company stepping in with a rival bid for the whole company, Oppenheimer Holdings Inc.'s Ittai Kidron wrote in a report yesterday after the Fairfax offer was announced.

"That said, it is possible a company could come out of the woodwork or potentially another financial entity/consortium would find value in pursuing a deal," the New York-based analyst wrote.

The Wall Street Journal reported that there are other parties still considering making a bid for BlackBerry, citing an unnamed person familiar with the matter. It was unclear how the Fairfax news would impact the deliberations, the newspaper said.

BlackBerry's sum-of-the-parts valuation could be higher than $9 a share and it's possible it could fetch more from a consortium that included strategic buyers interested in carving up its assets, said Sachin Shah, a special situations and merger arbitrage strategist at New York-based Albert Fried & Co.

In that scenario, there would need to be some sort of Canadian participation to convince regulators to approve a deal, as well as a group of buyers that can agree on how to divide the divisions, Shah said.

"It's not clear to me that they can come together," Shah said. "That's the headwind."

In the meantime, after BlackBerry's stock ended yesterday 18 cents below Fairfax's proposed price, it's a sign that, for now, traders aren't betting on any better bids, he said.

"The market is not expecting it to be higher," Shah said. "It could be lower."