Fairfax Held Talks to Acquire Remaining Shares of BlackBerry (BB) - Source

June 1, 2020 1:12 PM EDT

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Fairfax Financial recently held talks to acquire the remaining shares of BlackBerry (NASDAQ: BB) it doesn’t currently control, according to a source. BlackBerry has formed a special committee and hired bankers to assist in the matter. It is unclear if talks are ongoing and how far they advanced.

BlackBerry, once a dominant smartphone player, is a fraction of its former self but has been focused on technologies to make inroads into new markets, including AI, enterprise software, security, and Internet-of-Things.

The two sides already have a very intimate relationship. In 2013, Fairfax was in advanced talks to acquire BlackBerry but instead led a $1 billion investment and currently owns a large position in the company through common shares and convertible debentures. Assuming conversion of the debentures, Fairfax currently owns a 17.4% stake in the company. Fairfax's CEO, Prem Watsa, also sits on the BlackBerry Board of Directors as an Independent Director.

Giving Fairfax leverage in the talks is BlackBerry's lackluster stock performance and the 3.75% debentures that are due to mature in November of this year.

BlackBerry said they don’t comment on rumor or speculation. Fairfax has not responded to a request to comment.

(updated at 1:30PM ET to add BlackBerry's statement on the rumor)

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