BlackBerry in $4.7 billion takeover deal with Fairfax group


Smartphone maker BlackBerry Ltd said on Monday it agreed in principle to be acquired by a consortium led by its biggest shareholder, Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd, for $4.7 billion.

Fairfax, led by Canadian investor Prem Watsa, owns 10 percent of BlackBerry. It has offered to pay $9 a share in cash for the Canadian company, which last week said it expected to report a quarterly loss of nearly $1 billion, along with far weaker sales than analysts had expected.

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"We can deliver immediate value to shareholders, while we continue the execution of a long-term strategy in a private company with a focus on delivering superior and secure enterprise solutions to BlackBerry customers around the world." Watsa said in a statement.

Shares in BlackBerry had plunged since Friday, when the company warned of a sharp drop in revenue and massive job cuts. The group has until November 4 to conduct due diligence.

The stock was trading up 27 cents at about $9 on Nasdaq after being halted earlier on Monday.

(Reporting by Alastair Sharp and Julie Gordon; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick, Janet Guttsman and Carol Bishopric)