BlackBerry: The Whole Worth Less Than the Sum of Its Parts?

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The $4.7 billion buyout offer for BlackBerry Ltd. (NASDAQ: BBRY) from Canada’s Fairfax Holdings could be in trouble. The investment firm, led by former BlackBerry chairman Prem Watsa, apparently is having some difficulty rounding up financing for the deal.

That is why the company’s financial advisers hit the phones last week, seeking out other potential buyers. A report from Bloomberg News on Wednesday evening cites sources who say that SAP A.G. (NYSE: SAP), Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) and Samsung Electronics were approached about buying BlackBerry, but none was interested in the whole company, preferring instead to cherry-pick parts. Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) reportedly has said that it might be interested in BlackBerry’s patent portfolio.

Fairfax has until November 4 to conduct due diligence and round up financing for its bid. But with the stock trading lower than that bid, it is difficult to believe that financing will be found. Overpaying for a company that has virtually collapsed is not a formula for profit-making.

So, what does BlackBerry have that is worth something? Its patent portfolio is estimated to be worth about $1.6 billion, and its enterprise network could be worth as much as $1.1 billion, depending on how many subscribers stick with BlackBerry. The company also has $2.6 billion in cash.

The handset and phone business is not profitable, and finding a buyer for that is so unlikely as to be nothing more than wishful thinking.

BlackBerry’s shares closed at $8.11 Wednesday and are trading down about 1.2% at $8.01 in Thursday’s premarket. The stock’s 52-week range is $7.46 to $18.32.

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