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Uncertainty Clouds BlackBerry
Uncertainty Clouds BlackBerry's Sales Picture

By Barry Levine
September 24, 2013 11:03AM

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Analyst Charles King said if he were an IT manager, the letter of intent might make him "more comfortable with BlackBerry because of an infusion of capital" toward which the company appears headed. He said the long-term stability of BlackBerry "could come down to whether it can be run in a profitable manner in a niche," such as Fairfax appears to want.

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There are also other questions that could affect the perception of BlackBerry's stability and future, and thus customers' perceptions. For instance, there are reports that BlackBerry co-founder Mike Lazaridis, who left as co-chief executive in 2012 as the company struggled, may become involved again as an investor. This raises the question of whether the return of ex-management will give the company an appearance of a fresh start.

Additionally, Fairfax is not committed to $9 a share, a drop even from the $10.52 per share the company was getting last Thursday, prior to a Friday announcement that it was laying off 40 percent of its workforce. After completing due diligence, Fairfax can lower its current offer, which could affect external perceptions of the company's financial viability.

Another big issue is what exactly a suitor is looking to buy. Some analysts are speculating that any investor is not really interested in the BlackBerry 10 ecosystem of devices. Instead, this thinking goes, investors want the company's patents, its $2.6 billion cash-on-hand as leverage for the financing, possibly its mobile management software that can manage iPhones and Android devices as well as BlackBerry devices, and perhaps its BlackBerry Messenger Service.

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