BlackBerry's patents could be worth $5bn if it finds a single buyer

Summary:While BlackBerry's future is still to be decided, the value of its patents is looking more certain.

With a possible sale on BlackBerry's agenda , the Canadian company's patents are shaping up as its most valuable assets, according to analysts.

BlackBerry's failure to fire up its ailing handset business has left its pool of roughly 9,000 patents as the most attractive asset on the table as it examines options for its future , including selling the company.

Five alternative futures for BlackBerry

Five alternative futures for BlackBerry

One reason its patents are so valuable to the industry, according to Christ Marlett, CEO of MDB Capital Group is that they are "last big and current [wireless] portfolio available", he told AllThingsD.

Marlett believes BlackBerry's roughly 9,000-patent stash is worth between $2bn to $3bn if it was acquired by a consortium and up to $5bn if it was acquired by a single purchaser under pressure in a bidding war. Potential buyers include Microsoft, Google, Apple and Samsung.

Some of the patents may include those BlackBerry acquired as a member of the consortium that purchased 6,000 patents from bankrupt Nortel. BlackBerry ponied up approximately $775m for its share of Nortel's wireless patents.

According to a Reuters report, buying anything beyond BlackBerry's patents could be problematic since winding down its troubled handset business could cost in the region of $2bn.

On the other hand, despite its drastically shrunken marketshare, BlackBerry still has a solid grip on the enterprise market through BlackBerry Enterprise Server and a big global footprint, Marlett noted, and it could be attractive to a buyer like Microsoft.     

"Someone like Microsoft could justify paying $4bn to $5bn for the business, and $4bn to $5bn for the IP, which would yield an $8bn to $10bn purchase price," Marlett told AllThingsD.

Topics: BlackBerry, Legal, Mobility


Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, s... Full Bio

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.