Samsung in talks to buy BlackBerry?


WhistleOut
15 January 2015

Mobile industry rumour of the week: tech heavyweight Samsung may be in talks to buy embattled Canadian smartphone manufacturer BlackBerry.

According to a report from Reuters, executives from both companies met last week to discuss the possibility of a Samsung takeover, with sources quoting a $7.5 billion buyout figure.

The article stated that Samsung is proposing a purchase price of between $13.35 and $15.49 per share, which equals a premium of up to 60% of BlackBerry’s usual trading price.

Why BlackBerry?

Despite BlackBerry’s failing fortunes in recent years, sources have told Reuters that Samsung is interested in gaining control of BlackBerry’s patent portfolio. As a former leader in smartphones, it’s likely BlackBerry has a competitive collection of patents which could help Samsung gain the upper hand in its ongoing battle against Apple.

As well as having an eye on BlackBerry’s patents, Samsung may also feel that a BlackBerry acquisition will help it make further inroads into the enterprise sector, an area in which BlackBerry CEO John Chen had been steering the company since his 2013 appointment.

A potential Samsung takeover is unlikely to face the same government scrutiny as BlackBerry’s previously rumoured talks with Chinese company Lenovo. Chen confirmed last year that BlackBerry’s involvement with government mobile security software would make it difficult to settle a deal with any Chinese company.

But as a South Korean company, Samsung has so far been exempt from similar government concerns, finalising a deal late last year to incorporate BlackBerry’s security platform into Android software on its Galaxy line of smartphones.

Officially, no comment

Although Samsung executives have so far declined to comment on the story, and BlackBerry has issued a flat-out denial, Reuters reports that both companies are continuing to work with advisers to negotiate a deal.

What remains to be seen is how a possible Samsung acquisition would affect the BlackBerry smartphone range. Whether or not a deal with Samsung will mean the end of BlackBerry devices, or Samsung will continue to let the company manufacture handsets, already has passionate 'CrackBerry' users in a state of internet panic.


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