BlackBerry Ltd (BBRY) Trades Halted, Offer From Prem Watsa Revealed

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Trading on shares of BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) was halted today, marking the second trading day in a row in which this has happened. On Friday when the company did this, it preannounced terrible earnings, 4,500 job cuts and weak smartphone sales. So what was left for the struggling company to report?

BlackBerry Ltd (BBRY) Trades Halted, Offer From Prem Watsa Revealed

We finally have news of a strategic deal—the announcement we thought was coming Friday when the company halted trading in its stock.

BlackBerry offered $9 a share to go private

Via a press release, BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) announced that it had entered into a letter of intent with a group led by Fairfax Financial. Of course Fairfax Financial is the company’s biggest shareholder, and it is headed up by Prem Watsa—one of BlackBerry’s biggest fans for quite some time. Ever since the company announced that it was exploring strategic options, there has been speculation that Watsa would step in and save it. He has been talking with private equity firms for some time to line up financing.

The press release states that under the deal, Fairfax and the rest of the consortium will acquire BlackBerry and take it private, giving BlackBerry shareholders $9 a share in cash (USD). That values the struggling company at $4.7 billion. Under the deal, the consortium acquires all of the BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) shares not held by Fairfax, which currently holds about 10 percent of the company’s shares. Fairfax reports that it intends to “contribute the shares of BlackBerry it currently holds into the transaction.”

Other terms of BlackBerry’s deal disclosed

BlackBerry’s board of directors approved the terms of the letter of intent based on recommendations from the special committee. The consortium will receive six weeks to conduct due diligence on the company, and BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) is entitled to go shop during this period. Diligence is expected to be complete no later than Nov. 4.

The consortium is now seeking financing from BMO Capital Markets and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

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