BlackBerry agrees to $4.7 billion takeover

BlackBerry agrees to $4.7 billion takeover

Mobile handset company BlackBerry has provisionally agreed to be acquired by Fairfax Financial Holdings for an estimated $4.7 billion.

BlackBerry signed a letter of intent (LOI) agreement with Fairfax yesterday, which would see the holding firm acquire all shares in the company that it does not already own for cash.

Fairfax presently owns 10% of BlackBerry’s shares and the financial firm said in a statement that it intends to contribute these shares into the transaction.

The BlackBerry Board of Directors has appointed a “Special Committee” to monitor the deal, which has approved the terms of the LOI and is seeking financing from Bank of America Merril Lynch and BMO Capital Markets.

“The Special Committee is seeking the best available outcome for the company's constituents, including for shareholders,” said Barbara Stymiest, chair of BlackBerry’s board of directors.

The deal is still subject to due diligence, negotiation, execution of a definitive agreement and customary regulatory approval.

A statement from BlackBerry said: “Diligence is expected to be complete by November 4, 2013. The parties’ intention is to negotiate and execute a definitive transaction agreement by such date.”

Prem Watsa, chairman and CEO of Fairfax, expects a successful acquisition and consequent privatisation to be a good move for BlackBerry’s customers, carriers and employees.

“We can deliver immediate value to shareholders, while we continue the execution of a long-term strategy in a private company with a focus on delivering superior and secure enterprise solutions to BlackBerry customers around the world,” Watsa added.

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