Cerberus Eyes BlackBerry

Oct 3 2013 | 12:20pm ET

Cerberus Capital Management is mulling an offer for BlackBerry following that company's agreement to be acquired by its largest shareholder.

The New York-based private-equity firm has approached BlackBerry about signing a confidentiality agreement that would allow it to look at the company's books, The Wall Street Journal reports. At least one other distressed investment specialist has also looked into bidding for BlackBerry, the newspaper added.

BlackBerry agreed last month to sell itself for $4.7 billion to Fairfax Financial Holdings, which owns 10% of the beleaguered smartphone maker. The Canadian insurer has not yet arranged financing for the deal, and is allowed to walk away without penalty. Should BlackBerry strike a deal with Cerberus or anyone else before Nov. 4, it would owe Fairfax US$157 million.

Cerberus was not among the p.e. firms BlackBerry contacted as it sought a buyer, and it is not clear how serious the firm's interest is; analysts have suggested that at $9 per share, Fairfax has agreed to pay too much.

BlackBerry reported a $1 billion quarterly-loss last week on dwindling market share.

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