Cerberus shows interest in a deal with BlackBerry

By Adam Zeis on 2 Oct 2013 02:30 pm EDT
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Cerberus Capital Management LP, private-equity firm, is the latest to show interest in a possible deal with BlackBerry. While the deal with Fairfax Financial may still be in the works, BlackBerry is open to actively seeking offers from other companies before anything with Fairfax is finalized. 

Cerberus is best known for their acquisition of Chrysler Group but aren't very public about many other dealings. According to sources, Cerberus is seeking to sign a confidentiality agreement with BlackBerry in order to oblation financial records for the company. "We do not intend to disclose further developments with the respect to the process until we approve a specific transaction or otherwise conclude the review of strategic alternatives," BlackBerry said in a statement. 

It's entirely normal for a potential bidder to sign a confidentiality agreement in order look under the covers of the reported financials and dig deeper into the business. When this news broke, around 1pm, there was an immediate upwards spike in the price. This is easy to explain. Previously, the market believed Fairfax would be the only bidder, and that it may in fact lower it's offer price. Another potential bidder, even if it's just a potential bidder, increases the likelihood of a deal going through closer to the original $9 price -- this is what's driving the stock up.

It's still unknown if any other companies are interested in snatching up BlackBerry as they aren't obligated to make any of the strategic review information public, so we could still see other players in the game before a transaction is completed. 

Reader comments

Cerberus shows interest in a deal with BlackBerry

172 Comments

Cerebrus specializes in distressed investing. That means it will most likely sell Balckberry piece by piece and make some money. If Cerebrus buys Blackberry then most likely that's the end of Blackberry as a going concern.

I don't want evil masterminds controlling BlackBerry!! We're doomed!

On a lighter note, Badlands is here!!!!!

Posted via CB10

Right. Where is Major Shepard if you need him?

But seriously: Please NO! This Company will try to make the most money of BB by ripping it apart. *FingersCrossedTilTheyBrokeForFairfax*

Posted via CB10

They'll indoctrinate the entire BB staff and use them to destroy all life in the galaxy...

I know this is all speculation but wasn't it only yesterday that Alec Saunders said that BlackBerry isn't going anywhere?

Of course he did. He is still employed and still doing his job. Would you ever expect him to say anything else?

Didn't they turn things around for Chrysler? Why couldn't/wouldn't they do the same with Blackberry? I mean if their the type to buy and reinvigorate a brand..they've got a cheap and pretty easy(IMO) opportunity here with BB.

Cerberus did NOT turn things around for Chrysler. That was Fiat. What they did do was almost drive the company into the ground by starving R &D. Blackberry is really in trouble now.

They actually took over Chrysler and had no clue how to run an automotive company. They discovered that Daimler had taken all of the juicy bits out of Chrysler (their cash) and left Cerberus with a rotting shell of a company. Chrysler then collapsed, requiring a bail-out from the US and Canadian governments, who essentially gave the company to Fiat.

They don't specialize in distress investing (they purchased Chrysler before the economy melted down). As well, if they were distress investing BlackBerry would not be the investment of choice as the company is competent at downsizing it's business, and maintain a reasonable cash on hand in the process... Blackberry will close shop before it goes bankrupt - and both scenarios are unlikely.

Knowing Cerberus, they see something undervalued, and they know they can quickly turn BB around for higher value. Their assets already have big dealings with Fortune 500 companies and government, I can imagine their associations alone can turn BB's fate around.

However.... ... I wouldn't be surprised if they manage to resale BB off within 5 years for twice it's current value, which is something Cerberus is very well known for.

Makes me curious why big investment companies are more interested in BB than tech companies, this was literally the reverse scenario Palm had a few years back.

BlackBerry is done, eh. So, stop living this romantic dream that some how blackberry is going to survive, eh.

Posted via CB10

Seems like a ploy for shareholders to cling to the $9 for fear the company will be broken up.

Posted via CB10

Well, the bids thus far seem to value the handset division at less than $0, which suggests that the intent is to shutter it. With that done, QNX could be sold for some cash.

Today it's worth $0, because the over-production. If BlackBerry under produced the Z10 like they did the Gold painted Iphone 5s then the business would appear to be very sound.

Damn I wanted to do a Mass Effect reference, but you beat me to it! :(
But on topic: if this Cerberus is anything like the one from Mass Effect (which I suspect it is), I hope Fairfax comes out on top!

The sharks are circling.. but hopefully it will mean the board will have more than one offer to choose from and they will recommend the one that is best for customers and shareholders.

The term you are looking for is "themselves". They will recommend the offer that is best for "themselves". This is how business acts.

No
Stay away from Cerberus. That was the company that almost sunk Chrysler a few years ago. Remember?

Posted via CB10

Chrysler at the time deserved to be sunk and wasn't, only because Odingus stole taxpayer money and abrogated bankruptcy law to protect his union-thug buddies long enough for the company to be dumped onto the Italians for cheap.

...and in doing so he probably spared 2 million or more jobs in the supply chain. When an entire industry goes belly up - everyone involved in that industry feels the pain - workers in factories, shops creating parts for the workers, factories doing the seats, paint, windows, gears, motors, etc. Not everything in a Chrysler is assembled / manufactured in that location.

That's like saying Nissan is French, Lamborghini and Ducati are German, Range Rover and Jaguar are Indian, Holden American, etc.

Posted via CB10

True , Nardelli was Ceo of Home dépôt where they paid him $250. M to get out he made a mess of HD. He then went to Cerberus to head the takeout of Chrysler and he left Cerberus after that mess at Chrysler. Do not know the record of Cerberus now

Posted via CB10

After their purchase of Bushmaster Firearms, the quality of their products went right down the drain. Cost-cutting it their first action item.

And the same is true with every other firearm company they purchased in the last decade. Marlin has virtually been destroyed, for example.

Rumors say, Rajdeep Ltd. is buying BlackBerry for $30/stock. I hope this drives up stock prices so I can sell my stocks afterwards!

Oh boy here we go...

If Cerberus buys them they will sell off all parts of the business except QNX for cars.

Lol...in all seriousness, is this just a buy-out deal or also a privatization?

-STV on Z10STL100-3/10.1.0.4780 TMO US

All I want to see is BlackBerry kept as a Canadian company. Cerberus is US...so no.

Posted via CB10 on my Z10

All I want is to see shareholders given fair compensation for their stock and a bright future for BlackBerry. Most likely any meaningful capital investment will come from a large American organization. This is a good thing.

Posted via CB10

Really? How exactly have Canadians supported Blackberry? I hardly see anyone concerned about Blackberry going down in Canada yet people and govt. alike keep opposing foreign bids.

We're Canadiens. Nothing gets us too concerned unless it's some kind of sport played on ice that's going to be canceled. Then again, we just say, "well, there's always next year."

With a month to go in the "Who's Going to Buy BlackBerry Sweepstakes" it is still early. People much smarter than all the "Loud Mouth iTard BlackBerry Bashing Analysts" understand that $9 is a ridiculous offer for BlackBerry. Goofy Cramer was spouting, this morning, that Twitter is a "$20 Billion Company"... for Tweets???

This show has only just begun, there will be more low volume maneuvers because why would anyone - looking to purchase BBRY - want to start a "premature bidding war"...

The "good news" is that these grumblings, further, put a base in place for BBRY stock.

Just beginning Boys and Girls...

Buckle in...

Interesting name the guard dog of Hades
It sounds like a company that will break up Blackberry into pieces, most likely the enterprise market will stick around since there is demand for it ,
It would be a very sad day in Canada if Blackberry was sold and just torn apart, this is a good product that has been severely mismanaged, the Blackberry rise and fall will be talked about for years in many business schools,

BlackBerry has to show the board the offers for this orchestrated takeout of BlackBerry. This company should not be in this state as we see it today

Posted via CB10

they will break it into parts ,they have a tendency as an company,if deal goes with Cerberus Capital,we can see some bb parts here and there

So how much would the BlackBerry stockholders have to raise in order to maintain BlackBerry as a true stock owner company. I could add a couple of bucks to my shares to hold on.

Posted via CB10

Unfortunately it doesn't work that way. A bid is made then shareholders vote to accept or decline the offer. As a shareholder, you'll eventually receive a proxy in the mail asking for your vote.

At this point? Exactly $9.01 USD x [(.501x # outstanding shares) - # shares controlled]. Any more qurstions?

Posted via CB10

Microsoft is in the foxhole watching the action, and waiting to pounce. They just don't want to pay a premium by getting in early and stirring competition.

Posted via CB10

CrackBerry members should all pool their stocks and money to make a bid.

"CrackBerry purchases BlackBerry, Renames Company"

Seems ridiculous, but there are more good ideas circling 'round here than the current management.

Posted via CB10

Let's pool our stocks to join Fairfax bid so they can outbid Cerberus. It's a win-win to keep BlackBerry from being broken up and for loyal fans to benefit from the eventual turnaround.

And he would certainly fit right in. Kitchener is only 6 km away from Waterloo. I think you may be on to something!

Dave is too busy watching cars go by on Highway 8 while he drinks his coffee from Timies below

BlackBerry for leaders, not followers.

You've rekindled the fire, my friend. I am going to have to go and re-read all 300 issues AGAIN...

Since no offer has been announced by the three headed dog (still early) it's nothing but speculation at this point. If they do make a run for it, they'll have to contend with the 'net benefit for Canadians' mumbo-jumbo where the Canadian government can arbitrarily kill the deal if they don't like the smell of it.

Yep, I agree. No benefit to Canada if you are thinking of breaking up the company.
Canadian Government should tell them to go away.

Posted via CB10

I wrote a couple of sentences in this post regarding how it's normal for this kind of thing to involve a confidentiality agreement, and how it explains the rise in the stock since 1pm.  Otherwise I don't really have much to add.  I'm not that familiar with these guys (yet).  

Cerberus would be a disaster. End of BlackBerry. Strip and flip. Almost destroyed Chrysler.

One could just as easily consider Prem Watsa's bid as an opener only with the intention to set the floor price, knowing full well that interested bidders will likely wait until the 11th hour (which includes their own diligence timeframe) to get a steal of a deal. I could see several companies waiting on the sidelines for the right timing. Why show early interest and drive the price up? I don't think the masses hate BlackBerry as much as they hate what the execs have done with it.

Sent from the future on my Z10.

"Cerberus" is a name borrowed from the greek mythology (Κέρβερος): its a three-headed (or sometimes more) hellhound who guarded the underworld (Hades). His Job is to prevent, that dead souls will left the hell or living souls could enter the netherworld.... Happenstance?

Well, to be fair, they CLAIM they are the guard dog PREVENTING companies from getting INTO hell...

Now, whether or not you believe that pitch, is quite another story.

Is it possible for Fairfax and Cerberus to partner up and come up with a plan to keep BlackBerry together?

Posted via CB10

Cerberus is NOT looking out for BB's and their customer's best interest.

It's not their business model. If you like BlackBerry or their products, hope and pray that they won't have the winning bid for BB.

Posted via CB10

Why do you people think Fairfax has different intentions? Even if they would like to keep Blackberry intact, they need outside capital to do the deal and the company(s) providing the capital would probably be much more like Cerberus than not.

Exactly. Fairfax will break it up... no other option really. The fact that the CB Nation believes Saunders or Prem is frankly sad.

Posted via CB10

Terrible, terrible news. Hopefully this won't be successful.

Cerberus almost killed Chrysler. They gutted the company to the bare minimum, took all the money still in the bank and tried to sell off everything bit by bit.
It was a miracle Chrysler is still here (and doing pretty damn well) today.

Posted via CB10

Cerberus will rip BBRY into pieces and sell it for parts, but is Fairfax going to do any better is also not a surety.

They actually took what's left in the bank from Chrysler. Cerberus is not a firm that cares about the companies they acquire, they try to maximize their return by gutting the business and selling them for parts.

They are evil. "Cerberus /ˈsɜrbərəs/,[1] or Kerberos, (Greek form: Κέρβερος, [ˈkerberos])[2] in Greek and Roman mythology, is a multi-headed (usually three-headed) dog, or "hellhound" [1][3][4] which guards the gates of the Underworld". Wooooweeee. Hellhounds running BlackBerry

Posted via CB10

Would really love a company like IBM, oracle to buy blackberry, they would be good fits, I wouldn't be surprised if the cerebrus offer comes in then more companies will get involved in bidding, knowing that 2 companies see value in their due diligence

Posted via CB10

Except all the people who already mentioned it, including the person two posts above you.

There can be no smoke without fire! This is probably accurate information. Fairfax does have some competition after all...I just hope as hell that November comes sooner and the Fairfax deal is signed and sealed!

Posted from my superhuman Q10

Calm down. Daimler was the company that stripped Chrysler down. Cerebus came in after Daimler and increased spending in R+D.
When it hit the fan in the auto industry (it also hit the fan for GM remember, and Ford even mortgaged it's trademark a year previous just to stay alive) Cerebus sold Chrysler to Fiat. Chrysler now has a healthy balance sheet. Not to mention award winning vehicles in its lineup.
Whether or not you are a customer of Chrysler, you have to be somewhat impressed with the turn around.
Not every development is doom and gloom folks.

Posted via CB10

Mercedes wanted out because Chrysler brand was driving them down. Cerberus then came in to profit from the deal but lost then Fiat came in and saved them

Posted via Harry

You don't know what you are talking about. Mercedes stripped Chrysler and almost destroyed the company. Most of the cars now on the road are due to things that happened before Fiat. Chrysler's current profits are keeping Fiat afloat (just like they did for Daimler).

Just leverage the possibility of Cerberus to get Fairfax bid to $12 which is pretty close to what the sale of parts is worth.... and keep BlackBerry together.

Posted via CB10

I worked for them in the late 90's. If they buy BlackBerry, it's over. They will sell the parts and turn a nice profit.

Game over.

Posted via my BlackBerry Z10

This is definitifly horrible. They will break up the company, sell the patents, BBM, and other the software grab the remaining cash and run.
They are not interested in restructuring the company. A restructuring of a company takes time and patience and probably another cash injection. Private equity funds want to generate return as fast as possible and do not consider the consumers wishes / preferences.

I hope this is the beginning of a bidding war that will result in a fair shake for shareholders.$9 is a joke. And I hope the greedy shorts get squeezed in the process. Trying to determine what any suitor will do with the company is just speculation and it seems that BlackBerry and Fairfax are trying to suppress the stock by delaying launches and by accounting. I've never witnessed this level of stock manipulation. Rumours that it will sell sub 9 bucks when watsa has publicly said, and his record reinforces this, that his offer of 9 is firm. I can't wait until BlackBerry is taken private. Whoever buys BlackBerry is going to make some serious money.

Posted from BlackBerry Z10

The board is demonstrating its fiduciary duties to shareholders by manipulating the share price down so that the bids come in to recover half of what was lost.

Posted via CB10

What the hell is with the Globe and Mail? They have been printing nothing but negativity about BlackBerry, usually based on nonsensical hearsay for as long as I can remember. Once a more well established paper like the globe runs with a story, you have all the parasitic online, cut and past operators ( ie. I have a computer and I know a little about tech and/or business) gleefully running with it. Again, can't wait for BlackBerry to go private. They are being beaten up beyond what they deserve.

Posted from BlackBerry Z10

My take on this... It's like the TV show storage wars, Cerberus (hopefully) will make Fairfax up the bid and give the shareholders a better price.

Keep calm and blackberry on

If Cerberus buys BlackBerry it is over. As others have commented they will sell the company off in pieces and make a lot of money. I am in the wholesale apparel business in the US and companies like this have destroyed my industry. Google Mervyn's of California...

Posted via CB10

The more I think about it Microsoft is the best option...Blackberry/Microsoft would rule the enterprise market...it just makes sense

Posted via CB10

Before anything gets broken up, somebody will have to outbid somebody else. I will vote my shares with none of them. At this point I'd rather them just reject everything and hope that all the bids fall apart. It would be a great opportunity to go long on the cheap.

Posted via CB10

Stop this "if" talk,

ITS OVER PEOPLE ENJOY YOUR BB10 DEVICE ITS THE LAST ONE YOU WILL HAVE.

Posted via CB10

Cerberus is a bad company for BlackBerry!! And it was Daimler that suck up all the Juice in Chrysler!!! Cerberus did nothing good with Chrysler Let's hope that Mr. Prem Watsa buy's BlackBerry with another finance company and keep it all in one piece.

Posted via CB10

No offence to my neighbours to the south but dammed if another foreign entity picks apart another Canadian institution. Come on Fairfax get it done!

Z10 with OS 10.2.0.1767

Just another American company that if they were to buy it, rip it apart and sell it for the parts. Or, they will allow it to continue to run, any after turning all security information over to the NSA. Just what the NSA would really like to happen. If it stays Canadian they can tell the NSA to suck it. The NSA can not demand anythings from none American companies. Keep it Canadian.

Posted via CB10

Isn't Cerberus the dog that guards the entry to the underworld...aka Hades?!

How ironic that this is the company that has shown interest in BlackBerry!

Posted via CB10

So this is problem.If blackberry is unlucky,an evil buyer will buy it and destroy it.Evil buyer only care about money,not blackberry brand.

Black berry is dying. In 6 months no apps will work there will be no BBM. Dump your phones kids I recommend an android device. We have been playing with an older version of android running on two z10's. It required a fair bit of work but after three months there may be hope. But I wouldn't buy a new device if you don't have to. Although the z30 does look like it will accommodate android better

Posted via CB10

I how the executives sell to a group who wants to save BlackBerry not turn around and sell it piece by piece.

Sent from The Legendary Zed10

BlackBerry is done, eh. So, stop living this romantic dream that some how blackberry is going to survive, eh.

Posted via CB10

Cerberus is better for shareholders.

Fairfax is better for those that want BlackBerry to survive and thrive.

Period.

Lots of comments here indicate very little understanding of Cerberus. They will gut BlackBerry if they win the bid.

I am confident a chop shop won't get to buy BlackBerry. The fact that they have literally just been signed off by NATO and are internationally recognised as THE most secure mobile solution EVER means you can't just rip it apart as sell it to anybody.

Posted via CB10

WHY all these could happen? Why this scenario could take place? Why an indian vulture and an insatiable hellhound of capitalism waiting for their next meal although the victim isnt already dead? Cause (whereas BB OS10 is young and powerful and the FUTURE of mobile computing) BlackBerry has done everything to appear like a retiree (with a new wheeled walker) in marketing. They have served themselve corpse-like and they DESERVE to find an inglorious end! But I´m pissed cause of three things: a lot of loyal and innocent employees will drob their Jobs, I will lose my favorite brand with all its benefits and last but not least all culprits of this desaster will get full to bursting pockets! Who said, that the hellhound isnt already here to keep us in the hell of blatant injustice? It makes me wanna puke...

And why should we believe that fairfax or any other bidder will not gut BlackBerry like a dead fish?
Some people will do anything for a buck!

On The Underrated Never Duplicated Z10 10.1.0.4200

If Prem does not buy BBRY and it is NOT split up -- which is not very likely, I admit -- the current management team must be yanked immediately.

Right now the management has no vision to make the company work. I have never seen anything like it. Their attitude is: "We admit our business cannot work. Please buy it. Maybe you can do something with it."

Perhaps Heins does not resign so that he does not lose his right to his buyout provision.