BlackBerry has finally signed a formal agreement with a potential buyer, Fairfax Financial Holdings, which has agreed to pay a total of $4.7 billion for the struggling smartphone maker. The Fairfax consortium is currently the company's largest shareholder, holding a 10 percent stake, with the remaining shares to be purchased for approximately $9.
The announcement follows several negative reports surrounding the company's recent performance, as quarterly earnings are expected to show a $1 billion loss
. The company is currently in the process of slashing its workforce
, with the latest layoffs affecting more than 4,000 employees.
"We believe this transaction will open an exciting new private chapter for BlackBerry, its customers, carriers and employees," said Fairfax CEO Prem Watsa. "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."
BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins recently blamed poor sales of the Z10 and Q10 handsets on a lack of promotional effort from carrier partners. The executive noted that the company would be shifting away from the consumer market as it refocuses on enterprise customers.
The buyout agreement provides a six-week threshold for due diligence, during which time BlackBerry can continue to solicit for better offers or explore other options.