BlackBerry Chief Talks WhatsApp Valuation, Says He'd Sell BBM for $19 Billion

Facebook surprised a lot of people when Mark Zuckerberg announced his social network was acquiring WhatsApp, an instant messaging application for smartphones, for $19 billion, representing the company's biggest acquisition to date. When asked about the valuation, BlackBerry's CEO, John Chen, said he would take $19 billion for his company's messaging service in a heartbeat.

"I work for the shareholder. Standard answer. If somebody comes to me with $19 billion, I would definitely sell it. I would recommend to the board to take it," Chen told CNBC.

John Chen

Chen also said he doesn't view BlackBerry Messenger in the same way. He says he knows there's significant value in the messaging business, and the way he sees it, the right thing to do is to expand on it and build it as big as possible. At that point, he can think about the valuation.

BlackBerry could certainly use an infusion of $19 billion right about now. The company has lost market share in the smartphone space over the last couple of years and now trails Windows Phone for fourth place. One way BlackBerry hopes to make itself relevant again is through its recently announced Q20 smartphone. The Q20 brings back the classic QWERTY keyboard that the company claims was missed by users.