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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Thursday, October 18, 2018

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Samsung offers BlackBerry $7.5 billion buyout: report

Samsung has proposed an initial price range of $13.35 to $15.49 per share.

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SEOUL, South Korea - Samsung has reportedly offered Blackberry as much as $7.5 billion to buy the Ontario based phone maker, according to a news report Thursday. But the two companies have denied the reported acquisition plans.

Reuters wire news in an "exclusive" report said that the South Korea-based the world's largest smartphone maker has also sought Blakberry's valuable patents.

Citing an unnamed source "familiar with the matter" and documents seen by Reuters, the news agency said that Samsung has proposed an initial price range of $13.35 to $15.49 per share.

This represents a premium of 38 percent to 60 percent over BlackBerry's current trading price and values the company at as much as $7.5 billion.

The news agency also reported that representatives from the two companies are working with advisers and met last week to discuss a potential transaction.

As soon as the news about the acquisition plan appeared online, shares of BlackBerry jumped nearly 30 percent. But they fell back about 15 percent after the two companies denied the report.

Samsung said that it has no plans to acquire Blackberry. "Media reports of the acquisition are groundless," the company said in an e-mail.

BlackBerry echoed the denial and said it "has not engaged in discussions with Samsung with respect to any possible offer to purchase BlackBerry".

However, Blackberry didn't specify if it had received a proposal from Samsung.

The Canadian government, which reviews any foreign takeover valued at more than $296 million, has refused to speak over the possible acquisition

The governmental review is done to determine if the deal represents a "net benefit" to the country or for any national-security considerations.

Jake Enwright, a spokesman for Canadian Industry Minister James Moore in Ottawa, said he couldn't comment on "speculation and rumors."

Canadian Finance Minister Joe Oliver also declined to comment on whether the government received advance notice of an offer for BlackBerry or whether it would allow the South Korean company to acquire BlackBerry.

Meanwhile, Canadian newspaper Globe and Mail also reported that BlackBerry has shunned a handful of takeover offers in recent months as its board and largest investor think its restructuring strategy will deliver greater shareholder value than any acquisition offer.

The Globe and Mail said that the Blackberry board views acquisition offers even in excess of $7 billion as way below company's potential asset value in the next few years.

BlackBerry, a one-time investor's darling that pioneered smartphones, has regained some of its lost swagger under Chief Executive John Chen, who is leading a bid to regain market share it has lost to Apple, Google and Samsung.

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