BlackBerry announced Monday that it has agreed to be acquired by Toronto-based Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited for $4.7 billion.
The beleaguered smartphone company said it had signed a letter of intent with Fairfax, which owns about 10 percent of BlackBerry’s common shares. The deal would deliver about $9 a share to shareholders and take the company private.
Once an essential accessory for Washington insiders, BlackBerry has faltered in its competition with popular smartphones such as Samsung’s Galaxy and Apple’s iPhone. It has just 3 percent of the worldwide smartphone market, according to a second-quarter report by the IDC research firm.
Finding a market for phones that can be used for work and play is key to BlackBerry’s survival, though the firm may see that market dwindle over time as well, said Brian Proffitt of the University of Notre Dame.
“As Apple and Android improve their respective enterprise and device management tools, BlackBerry’s advantage even there may diminish,” Proffitt said.
“It’s not the devices and hardware where BlackBerry has value, but rather its software and mobile device management service.”