Second bidder for BlackBerry? 'Distressed asset' investor Cerberus eyes company

Private equity firm Cerberus may be interested in bidding for BlackBerry, according to reports.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

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US private equity firm Cerberus may be interested in bidding for BlackBerry, following the handset maker's preliminary $4.7bn buy-out agreement with Fairfax Financial Holdings.

Distressed asset specialist Cerberus wants access to BlackBerry's private financial information in what could lead to a counter offer for the troubled company, sources familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal

The company is not thought to be among those that BlackBerry approached when it first began looking into a sale earlier this year, the WSJ said.

Cerberus' rumoured interest follows a disappointing second quarter for BlackBerry, which last week reported a $965m loss for the period, driven by a significant writedown on unsold Z10 inventories.

Sales of its handsets outside the US in developing markets are being squeezed by competition from low-cost Android smartphones, while buyers are also being put off by the lack of apps for BlackBerry phones, the company wrote in a filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) published on Wednesday.

The news of a second suitor comes after a preliminary agreement the handset maker signed early last week with its largest shareholder Fairfax Financial Holdings. Fairfax is leading a consortium of unknown investors to acquire the company for $4.7bn, or $9 a share.

The pair are hoping to sign a definitive agreement with Fairfax by 4 November after due diligence. BlackBerry has an option to find other buyers if Fairfax lowers its offer to below $9 a share, but faces stiff financial penalties if the offer stays and it walks after this period.

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