John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Cerberus Browsing BlackBerry’s Books for Buyout Bid

cerberus_blackberryBlackBerry’s prolonged downward spiral and uncertain future is proving a potent deterrent to many companies that might mount a bid for the collapsing smartphone pioneer, but evidently not to Cerberus Capital Management. The distressed-asset investor has gone from seeking access to BlackBerry’s financial documents to securing them.

Bloomberg reports, and AllThingsD has independently confirmed, that Cerberus has signed a confidentiality agreement that gives it access to BlackBerry’s books. Reviewing the company’s private financial information is the next step for Cerberus as it evaluates what a person familiar with the matter says is a potential move to acquire BlackBerry outright. The distressed-investing firm’s intentions are said to be tentative, though, and it’s entirely possible that it may opt against pursuing a bid.

Cerberus’s developing interest in BlackBerry throws a new twist into the smartphone pioneer’s Greek tragedy of a comeback story. Along with Fairfax Financial, and presumably BlackBerry co-founder and former co-CEO Mike Lazaridis, Cerberus is the only outfit interested in acquiring all of BlackBerry, not just its parts. Perhaps BlackBerry does have a chance, however distant, at remaining a standalone company.

Cerberus and BlackBerry both declined comment on their dealings with one another.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik