BlackBerry met with Facebook about possible bid for the device maker

BlackBerry and Facebook executives reportedly met last week about a possible bid for the smartphone maker. Above, BlackBerry Chief Executive Thorsten Heins early this year.
(Mario Tama / Getty Images)

Has Facebook made a new friend in BlackBerry?

In an unusual pairing, the world’s largest social network met with BlackBerry last week to discuss a potential bid for the smartphone maker, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The meeting was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, which cited unnamed sources and said BlackBerry executives flew to California for the meeting. It’s unclear whether Facebook is interested in making an offer.

Responding to a request for comment from The Times, BlackBerry emailed a brief statement: “The special committee, with the assistance of the company’s independent financial and legal advisors, is conducting a robust and thorough review of strategic alternatives. We do not intend to disclose further developments with respect to the process until we approve a specific transaction or otherwise conclude the review of strategic alternatives.”


A Facebook representative declined to comment, citing a company policy against responding to rumors and speculation.

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BlackBerry is trying to figure out its next steps. It announced last month that it had reached a preliminary agreement to be bought by a consortium led by Fairfax Financial Holdings for $4.7 billion.

The group plans to take the company private. Both sides are doing their due diligence, with a plan to negotiate and execute a definitive transaction agreement by Nov. 4.

Analysts have speculated that the Fairfax-led buyout might fall apart, forcing BlackBerry to sell its assets to industry rivals. Google, Lenovo, Cisco, SAP and even Samsung have been rumored as potential buyers for bits and pieces of BlackBerry’s business, although those companies have not publicly expressed interest.

BlackBerry co-founders Mike Lazaridis and Douglas Fregin are also considering a bid for the company, based in Waterloo, Canada.

As it grapples with a probable ownership change, BlackBerry continues to lose money. Last month it disclosed that it lost nearly $1 billion in its most recent quarter, and said it planned to lay off about 4,500 employees, or about 40% of its workforce.

Shares of BlackBerry on Tuesday rose 10 cents, or 1.2%, to $8.30.

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