Cisco Systems, Google, SAP in talks with BlackBerry

Cisco Systems, Google and SAP are in talks with BlackBerry to buy the ailing smartphone company.

Currently, BlackBerry management is reviewing a $4.7 billion bid from Fairfax Financial Holdings, BlackBerry’s biggest shareholder. There are reports that Fairfax may not be able to get enough financial support to complete the bid.

The Waterloo, Ontario-based BlackBerry, which reported $1 billion loss in second quarter, has asked for preliminary expressions of interest from potential strategic buyers, which also include Intel and Asian companies LG and Samsung, by early next week, Reuters reported.

Potential technology buyers are interested in BlackBerry’s secure server network and patent portfolio, though doubts about the assets’ value remain an issue.

BlackBerry’s long-term future is uncertain at present. There are reports that the company will stop making smartphones or exit from select mobile phone markets.
The value of BlackBerry’s patent portfolio and licensing agreements is likely to halve in the next 18 months, a company filing from this week shows, potentially limiting its attractiveness.

According to analysts, BlackBerry’s assets include a services business that powers its security-focused messaging system, worth $3 billion to $4.5 billion; a collection of patents that could be worth $2 billion to $3 billion; and $3.1 billion in cash and investments, Reuters reported.

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