Smartphone manufacturer BlackBerry announced today that it has struck a preliminary deal to sell the company for about $4.7 billion to a group led by one of its biggest shareholders, Fairfax Financial, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The move kicks off the process of trying to find better offers for the beleaguered company to take it private, the report notes.
"Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltrd., a Canadian insurance firm, signed a letter of intent with the BlackBerry board where it could pay $9 a share in cash for the BlackBerry shares not already held by Fairfax," the story reports. "The firm currently holds about 10% of BlackBerry’s shares."
The report notes: "The deal is far from complete — it is subject to six weeks of due diligence until Nov. 4, and BlackBerry is entitled to shop the company during this period. The Fairfax group still needs to raise financing for its potential deal."
Other parties reportedly remain interested in bidding for BlackBerry, but it was unclear how the announced agreement would affect their plans.
"Following the news BlackBerry’s stock, which plunged 17% Friday after the company disclosed it had nearly $1 billion in unsold phones and would slash 40% of its workforce, rose about 1.2% to $8.83," WSJ notes.