A new Bloomberg report suggests that BlackBerry could break up.
In September, a consortium led by financial-holding company Fairfax Financial indicated that it would acquire BlackBerry for $4.7 billion. That announcement came on the heels of BlackBerry’s Board of Directors announcing that the search for a potential acquirer was underway. BlackBerry has watched its market-share collapse under competitive pressure from Google, Apple, and other players in the smartphone arena; its latest batch of BlackBerry 10 devices failed to reverse that slide, kicking off the acquisition discussions.
According to Bloomberg, however, Fairfax Financial may prove unable to scrape together all those billions, and companies approached as potential acquirers—including Cisco and SAP—are reportedly interested only in some parts of BlackBerry’s business. Should BlackBerry split into multiple components, those companies could swoop in and snatch up whatever they wanted; but purchasing BlackBerry as a cohesive unit looks like a dimming possibility at this time.
No other investment firms have stepped forward to challenge Fairfax Financial’s bid.
If BlackBerry does break up, it’s likely that another technology player will place a bid for the firm’s extensive patent portfolio, which could offer a layer of protection amidst the intellectual-property lawsuits buzzing around the tech industry. Its software and backend-infrastructure products, such as BlackBerry Messenger, could also hold quite a bit of appeal. The biggest issue—and the most likely casualty of a breakup—is BlackBerry’s mobile-device operation, which is expensive to maintain and, given the company’s rapidly dwindling market-share, unlikely to regain its status as a world-beater without that once-in-a-lifetime combination of vision, luck, and massive resources.
BlackBerry’s current plan is to largely abandon the consumer market in favor of focusing on its core enterprise audience, but analysts have expressed doubts over whether that will be enough to halt the company’s slide.