Cerberus Browsing BlackBerry’s Books for Buyout Bid

Published on October 16, 2013
by John Paczkowski

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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