PLANT

Potential bidders expected as BlackBerry faces key deadline

Microsoft, Lenovo and Google have reportedly looked at the financials.


TORONTO — BlackBerry has been shopping for potential buyers, and as of Nov. 4, it could become clearer who’s interested in bidding on the struggling smartphone company.

Fairfax Financial, the investment firm that made a conditional $4.7-billion offer for BlackBerry in September, is scheduled to wrap up its due diligence period.

That self-imposed deadline gave Fairfax about a month and a half to comb through the company’s financial details and come up with a solid plan for BlackBerry’s future.
In the meantime, BlackBerry has been scouring the technology and investment communities for any other interest.

Companies who have considered a bid run the gamut, with reports claiming Facebook, Microsoft and Chinese computer maker Lenovo have all taken a peek at BlackBerry’s finances.

One group of bidders that’s almost certain to emerge includes BlackBerry co-founder Mike Lazaridis, who has filed documents with regulators outlining an interest in trying to rescue the company.

BlackBerry has been its market share tumble, even after the launch of its hyped BlackBerry 10 smartphones earlier this year.

The company is trying to turnaround its operations and booked a US$965-million loss for the second quarter of its 2014 financial year, mostly due to a writedown of the BlackBerry Z10 touchscreen phone, which was a sales flop.

BlackBerry also expects to book US$400 million in charges from a variety of factors before the end of May 2014.

Those expenses will cover costs associated with the previously announced layoffs of 4,500 employees, the reworking of its smartphone lineup and other changes to its manufacturing, sales and marketing operations, it has said in regulatory filings.

© 2013 The Canadian Press