BlackBerry Reportedly Leaning Towards Breaking Up Assets As Fairfax Deal In Doubt

Canada’s beleaguered smartphone pioneer BlackBerry is apparently warming to the idea of a break-up, Bloomberg reports, as the Fairfax Financial buyout bid for the entire company looks a little more uncertain due to a failure to secure the appropriate amount of funding, or partners to help them do so.

The companies reportedly approached by BlackBerry as potential suitors, including SAP, Cisco and Samsung, are only interested in parts of BlackBerry, not the whole kit and caboodle, according to Bloomberg. If a break-up went through, it would give BlackBerry the chance to auction off the most lucrative parts to the highest bidders, who might be more likely to compete with one another once they don’t have to worry about also taking on the unprofitable parts of the business and mitigating the risk associated with those assets.

Reuters reported earlier this month that Google, SAP and Cisco were among companies that were interested in buying BlackBerry or its parts, and the company had also approached LG, Intel and Samsung according to that report. Bloomberg’s new information echoes that, and adds that SAP is considering the value of attempting to acquire portions of the company, while Intel is looking only at patents. None of the companies covered by Bloomberg are interested in making a bid for the entire company as it exists now.

In terms of what is and isn’t appealing to potential buyers about BlackBerry, it’s pretty clear that the enterprise business is among the most attractive targets. The phone business is not considered an asset at all, RJF analyst Steven Li tells Bloomberg, owing to its steadily declining handset sales figures. There is some good news in the phone business, however, as Canadian telco Rogers reversed its decision not to carry the BlackBerry Z30 smartphone. Still, interest in BlackBerry hardware at home in Canada isn’t representative of the appetite for its devices elsewhere.

BlackBerry seems destined for a break-up in the end, unless Fairfax can pull in some last-minute support to help its bid for the company as a complete unit. It’s much more likely that we’ll see it parted out, however, which, while sad for the brand and its defenders, could at least mean something bearing the BlackBerry name survives, if under new ownership and management.

Illustration: Bryce Durbin