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Fairfax Still Silent About BlackBerry With Deadline Approaching

After a very complicated year for BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) and its shareholders, the buyout proposed by a consortium led by Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd (OTCMKTS:FRFHF), the firm’s biggest stockholder, seemed to be the best option for almost everyone involved -or this is what BlackBerry wanted investors to believe. However, since the bid, in late September shares have declined more than 10 percent and continued to fall today, after the news about Fairfax got out.

Prem Watsa

The holdings company had offered $4.7 billion to buy the shares of the device manufacturer and take it private. Nevertheless, according to the agreement, Fairfax can walk away from the deal and face no penalty, so uncertainty has been building up. Still, Barbara Stymiest, chair of the company’s board of directors, gave assurance that “The special committee is seeking the best available outcome for the Company’s constituents, including for shareholders.”

Missed Opportunity at the Earning Call?

Friday, Fairfax held a conference call to discuss its third-quarter financial results, which came in pretty poor. Besides discussing its own financials, investors and analysts expected the company to provide an update on the BlackBerry takeover. However, this did not occur. Even further, when prompted, Prem Watsa – Fairfax’s founder and CEO – just answered, “We cannot make any comments on Blackberry. We have a bid for the company so we really cannot make any more comments on it,” and rapidly moved on to another subject.

On the bright side, the wait for news on the matter won’t be much longer, as the due-diligence period established by the agreement expires Monday. But, since the offer made by Fairfax values shares at $9 each, and shares now trade under $8, backing out would seem more convenient (especially after Fairfax’s last quarterly results).

Silver Linings

Despite sailing troubled waters, there has been one piece of good news for BlackBerry lately. A few days ago, its BBM messaging system was launched for the Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS platforms, and had great success during its first 24 hours, the app had more than 10 million downloads. Its popularity could be mostly attributed to its safety and efficiency levels, considerably better than most of its competitors’.

Despite all of its issues and the uncertainties that it faces, BlackBerry continues to innovate, having presented more than 35 patents during October. Check out this article – you´ll find three patents that prove that BlackBerry can keep innovating no matter who buys it.

Also, as of November, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), the largest carrier in the U.S., will sell the BlackBerry Z30 exclusively, for $200 –with a two-year contract. Check out the story here.

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