Shares of BlackBerry (BBRY) were up nearly thirty percent as the closing bell sounded this afternoon. What could possibly be behind this sudden spike in interest in shares of a smartphone company whose glory days faded years ago?
Well, it turns out that BlackBerry may be ripe for the picking, and according to Reuters, Samsung is ready to make an offer that John Chen and BlackBerry’s board may be reluctant to refuse. According to the Reuters report, Samsung is willing to pay roughly $7.5 billion for BlackBerry's assets (including its patent portfolio).
Samsung’s sudden interest to “make a deal” comes just two months after the two companies entered a strategic partnership to bring BlackBerry’s BES12 cross-platform EMM solution to Galaxy smartphones and tablets that feature embedded KNOX technology. At the time, the two companies indicated that they were looking forward to future ventures together.
“BlackBerry has developed a very close partnership with Samsung and we’re committed to deepening the interaction between our engineering and product development teams for the long-term,” said John Sims, President of Global Enterprise Services, BlackBerry in mid-November. “It is a natural progression in our path to providing our customers with more alternatives to meet their evolving mobile needs.”
It appears that the partnership may get a lot closer at a much faster rate than previously thought if Reuters’ sources are correct.
BlackBerry’s efforts to reinvent itself with its BB10 operating system and subsequent smartphones have failed to improve its position in the smartphone market. The company is currently sitting below one percent global market share in the smartphone arena and its quirky flagship, the Passport, may have won over the BlackBerry faithful, but has a long way to go before it can encroach on the dominance of the Galaxies and iPhones of the smartphone world. BlackBerry’s position in the smartphone sector has weakened so much that AT&T made BlackBerry redesign the Passport before it would even offer the device on its network. BlackBerry obliged… what other choice does it have at this point? And the recently introduced “Classic” smartphone definitely takes its name to heart, packing in an old Qualcomm Snapdragon processor from 2012 and a small 3.5-inch 720x720 display.
AT&T's version of the BlackBerry Passport
It remains to be seen what a Samsung purchase would be mean for future hardware products. Would we see QWERTY-equipped Galaxy smartphones or Galaxy flagships with eccentric, square displays? We of course don’t have any insight into what may happen this early in the game, but this will definitely be an interesting pairing if the transaction is actually approved.
BlackBerry has issued a statement denying the Reuters report:
BlackBerry is aware of certain press reports published today with respect to a possible offer by Samsung to purchase BlackBerry. BlackBerry has not engaged in discussions with Samsung with respect to any possible offer to purchase BlackBerry. BlackBerry’s policy is not to comment on rumors or speculation, and accordingly it does not intend to comment further.