BlackBerry’s proposed sale to a consortium led by Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. is a vote of confidence in the value of the Waterloo-based smartphone maker, local observers say.

“This is a strong signal that there is a future for BlackBerry,” Communitech CEO Iain Klugman said of the $4.7-billion purchase offer, announced Monday afternoon, which would see BlackBerry taken private.

“Going private is a smart move for BlackBerry at this point in its history, as it allows for the spotlight to be taken off the day-to-day operations,” Klugman said.

In a statement released Monday by BlackBerry, Fairfax CEO Prem Watsa said, “We believe this transaction will open an exciting new private chapter for BlackBerry, its customers, carriers and employees. We can deliver immediate value to shareholders, while we continue the execution of a long-term strategy in a private company with a focus on delivering superior and secure enterprise solutions to BlackBerry customers around the world.”

The purchase offer would see BlackBerry shareholders receive $9 US in cash per share. Fairfax owns about 10 per cent of BlackBerry’s common shares and would contribute them to the transaction.

The deal is subject to due diligence, which is expected to be finished by Nov. 4. Until that time, BlackBerry is free to negotiate with other potential purchasers.

News of the purchase agreement was greeted positively at the Communitech Hub.

“I think it’s a positive move,” said Josh Hillis, founder of Pair Mobile, a local startup. “I’ve been saying for ages privatizing the company will take away the media and analysts’ opportunity to negatively affect the stock and take  those betting against BlackBerry out of the equation.”

Hillis said going private means BlackBerry “can finally get back to business in rebuilding what still has much potential, but on their own terms.”

With the announcement, BlackBerry reinforced its commitment to its customers and its plans to continue to move forward with BBM cross-platform, BES 10, BlackBerry 10 devices, and the opportunities with mobile computing.

About The Author

Trish Crompton
Digital Journalist/Social Media Manager

Trish Crompton brings her passion for technology and digital media expertise to Communitech's External Relations team. Trish was born in Sydney, Australia and has called Waterloo Region home since 2008. She is a marketing graduate of Conestoga College.