BlackBerry’s CEO made the stunning revelation that he’d accept a $19 billion (read: the price paid for WhatsApp by Facebook) offer for BBM, the messaging service that makes up one small part of the Waterloo-based company with a market cap of $5.17 billion he currently runs. Chen dropped the bomb at MWC in an interview with CNBC, admitting he’d “definitely sell” at that price and “recommend to the board to take it.”
Were Chen to say anything other than that, I’d recommend someone check to make sure he wasn’t experiencing some kind of early onset dementia, since $19 billion would be a very impressive price for BBM in its current state. The interview did reveal some of Chen’s thinking around how to treat BBM, however, once it got past the painfully obvious.
“I think the right thing to do is to expand that and make it as big as possible and then […] worry about the valuation later,” he told CNBC. Chen also noted that BBM is tied strongly to BlackBerry’s enterprise offerings, which means that it’s hard to extricate its value independent of the rest of BlackBerry’s business. It will likely get even more cosy with BB Enterprise efforts, now that it falls under the purview of Global Enterprise Solutions chief John Sims.
Of course, that doesn’t change the fact that BBM is apparently available to purchase if anyone has $19 billion lying around. I could be interested but I’m just under $19 billion short if anyone wants to go in together.