BlackBerry, long ailing, could be target of Cerberus bid

Cerberus Capital Management is interested in acquiring BlackBerry, according to Bloomberg. 

Reuters
A Canadian flag waves in front of a Blackberry logo at the Blackberry campus in Waterloo, in this Sept. 23, 2013 file photo.

Cerberus Capital Management, a private equity firm based in New York, is mulling an offer for Canadian company BlackBerry, Bloomberg is reporting. According to Bloomberg, Cerberus, which specializes in distressed-assets, has already signed a non-disclosure agreement with BlackBerry, allowing employees at the firm to get a look inside BlackBerry's books. 

"Reviewing the company’s private financial information is the next step for Cerberus as it evaluates what a person familiar with the matter says is a potential move to acquire BlackBerry outright," writes John Paczkowski of All Things D, which has independently confirmed the Bloomberg report. "The distressed-investing firm’s intentions are said to be tentative, though, and it’s entirely possible that it may opt against pursuing a bid." 

In other words: Sit tight. A lot could still change. Consider that in late September, it looked as if Canadian insurance company Fairfax Financial would acquire BlackBerry for $4.7 billion. Since then, however, hope for that deal seems to have faded, amid concerns, as Bloomberg put it, that Fairfax "may be unable to line up funding or partners" for the buyout. 

BlackBerry is coming off a dismal couple of years. In September, the company posted a $1 billion Q2 2013 loss, and announced it would lay off 40 percent of its global workforce, or a whopping 4,500 employees. Once a key player in the smart phone market, BlackBerry has been left in the dust by Apple and Samsung; more recently, the company announced it would pivot its focus away from ordinary consumers and toward business users. 

In an open letter to consumers this week, BlackBerry sought to assure its remaining user base that it would not be abandoned. 

"Yes, there is a lot of competition out there and we know that BlackBerry is not for everyone," the letter reads. "That’s OK. You have always known that BlackBerry is different, that BlackBerry can set you apart. Countless world-changing decisions have been finalized, deals closed and critical communications made via BlackBerry. And for many of you that created a bond, a connection that goes back more than a decade." 

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.