BlackBerry stock soars upon Samsung takeover reports

Actually, this isn't the first time Samsung has been tied to BlackBerry buyout stories.


Many tech titans have been in the running to acquire the once-prominent phone maker BlackBerry.

Despite BlackBerry surviving on its own up until now with a potential comeback in the making, there is a new contender in the running.

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It doesn't hurt -- especially for BlackBerry shareholders -- that the rumored buyer happens to be one of the biggest smartphone brands on the planet: Samsung.

BlackBerry shares started to soar ahead of the closing bell on Wednesday, surmised to be based on a Reuters exclusive that Samsung has presented a takeover bid.

According to the report, Samsung is offering up to $7.5 billion for BlackBerry at a rate of $13.35 to $15.49 per share, translating to anywhere between 38 percent to 60 percent over BlackBerry's latest trading price.

After market close, BlackBerry denied the report. BlackBerry said it has not engaged in discussions with Samsung with respect to any possible offer to purchase BlackBerry."

Actually, this isn't the first time Samsung has been tied to BlackBerry buyout stories.

In 2012, back when BlackBerry was still known as Research in Motion, a Jefferies analyst said Samsung could be interested in buying BlackBerry 10 licenses -- although that rumor was quickly shot down by Samsung itself.

BlackBerry's tumultuous recent history -- especially on balance sheets -- is no secret to anyone inside or out of the tech world.

After reports that it might go private, BlackBerry's board formed a special committee in August 2013 to explore "strategic alternatives to enhance value and increase scale in order to accelerate BlackBerry 10 deployment."

Those alternatives included "possible joint ventures, strategic partnerships or alliances, a sale of the Company or other possible transactions."

Tech companies left and right popped up as potential buyers, including Lenovo, Microsoft, and even Facebook.

But BlackBerry's problems were solved -- relatively speaking and temporarily -- within months, starting with the $1 billion lifeline set up by Fairfax Financial, a major Canadian financial firm.

BlackBerry refocused its product strategy as well under the leadership of CEO John Chen, who replaced Thorsten Heins in November 2013.

In a little more than a year, Chen has been vocal about constructing a much tighter, leaner BlackBerry portfolio centered around enterprise services, BlackBerry Messenger, and the QNX operating system.

Since then, BlackBerry has bolstered its business services with various acquisitions, including that of German mobile security company Secusmart in July, and the debut of the new BES12 enterprise mobility management solution in November.

In an open letter in October, Chen hinted that BlackBerry will go back to its roots (most obviously in design with an emphasis on the physical keyboard).

While quipping "there's also something to be said for the classic adage, if it ain't broke don't fix it," Chen hinted there was nothing wrong with BlackBerry to begin with and should have just kept developing what it already did best.