BlackBerry denies Samsung takeover report

Shares of BlackBerry surged after a report that Korean smartphone giant Samsung has approached it with a takeover offer. The Canadian tech company is denying the report, saying it hasn't "engaged in discussions with Samsung with respect to any possible offer to purchase BlackBerry."

Reuters source says a deal could be worth up to $7.5B

BlackBerry CEO John Chen appears at a news conference for the company's BlackBerry Classic in December in New York. BlackBerry shares jumped on Wednesday, after a report that Samsung has approached the Canadian company with a takeover offer. (Bebeto Matthews/Associated Press)

BlackBerry is denying a report that Korean smartphone giant Samsung has approached it with a takeover offer, saying it "has not engaged in discussions with Samsung with respect to any possible offer to purchase BlackBerry."

A statement released Wednesday by Blackberry said the company doesn't comment on "rumours or speculation." Samsung has also denied the takeover report, multiple media outlets say.

Earlier in the day, a Reuters report said Samsung had approached the company with a takeover offer.

Shares in the company, which has been working to regain market share in a fast-changing industry, were up as much as 30 per cent in late trading on Wednesday following the report of a possible takeover offer. 

BlackBerry shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange closed at $15.02, up $3.42 from the previous day's closing price.

The initial Reuters report cited a person familiar with the matter and documents saying Samsung could offer as much as $7.5 billion for the Waterloo, Ont., company, looking to gain access to its patent portfolio.

'A real deal' for Samsung

"If they get [BlackBerry], Samsung's got themselves a real deal," said Ross Healy, a senior portfolio manager at MacNicol and Associates Asset Management, in an interview with CBC News.

Healy cited BlackBerry's cash holdings, patent portfolio and secure networking technology as potential assets for Samsung.

A serious bid from Samsung could attract attention from other potential buyers, said Healy, especially Google.

"The cost of BlackBerry would be chump change for that company."

Another analyst said a marriage between BlackBerry and Samsung would be mutually beneficial.

"These are two companies that have had significant dealings up until now," said independent technology analyst Carmi Levy in an interview with CBC News.
Samsung and BlackBerry have denied the report that a takeover offer has been discussed. (Dado Ruvic/Reuters)

"BlackBerry announced a partnership with Samsung to bring security based products to market," added Levy. "So they are familiar with each other, they have worked with each other before, there are lots of opportunities for what the business calls 'synergies' between them, where they can leverage off of each other's business."

If the Samsung bid is more than just rumour, it would face scrutiny from the Canadian government. Industry Canada previously rejected a potential takeover bid for BlackBerry by Chinese technology company Lenovo.

A spokesman for Industry Minister James Moore told CBC News today that "Industry Canada does not comment on speculation or rumours."

Details of rumoured deal

South Korea's Samsung proposed an initial price range of $13.35 to $15.49 per share, which represents a premium of 38 per cent to 60 per cent over BlackBerry's current trading price, the source told Reuters.

The offer price would imply an enterprise value of $6 billion to $7.5 billion for BlackBerry, assuming conversion of $1.25 billion of convertible debt, according to the documents.

Representatives from the two companies, which are working with advisers, met last week to discuss a potential transaction, the source said, asking not to be identified because the conversations are private, the Reuters report says.

With files from Reuters


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