Even before Prem Watsa’s audacious bid on Monday to take BlackBerry private in a cash transaction valued at $4.7bn, industry analysts were questioning whether the Canadian company could survive.
Mr Watsa insisted that, if approved, his bid would “open an exciting new private chapter for BlackBerry, its customers, carriers and employees”. But many analysts and investors remain unconvinced.
While they concede that it may be easier for Fairfax Financial, or another financial buyer, to undertake the unpalatable business of restructuring BlackBerry as a private company out of the public spotlight, most believe that any new owner would face an uphill struggle to stabilize the business.
“It’s not the devices and hardware where BlackBerry has value, but rather its software and mobile device management service. But as Apple and Android improve their respective enterprise and device management tools, BlackBerry’s advantage even there may diminish,” says Brian Proffitt, a technology expert and adjunct instructor of management in the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business.