Troubled phone-maker BlackBerry has agreed to sell up and be taken private by a consortium led by Fairfax Financial Holdings in a $4.7bn (£2.93bn) deal, but can continue to look for a better deal elsewhere.
Last month a special committee formed to plan the company's future, and today the firm agreed to sell up to a consortium fronted by its largest existing shareholder.
In a letter of intent written by Fairfax, it states that it wants to acquire for cash the remaining 90 per cent of shares it does not already hold. Fairfax – which is seeking finance from the Bank of America, Merrill Lynch and BMO Capital Markets – claims the deal would return $9 per share to shareholders in cash.
Despite BlackBerry's board of directors approving the deal under the advice of the special committee, the firm will still be on the lookout for a better deal up until 4 November when the negotiation period ends.
Throughout this "go-shop" period, BlackBerry is permitted to actively solicit, receive, evaluate and potentially enter into negotiations with parties that offer alternative transactions, according to the terms of its tentative agreement with Fairfax.
Barbara Stymiest, chair of BlackBerry's board of directors, said the process is designed to find the best outcome for the firm.
"The special committee is seeking the best available outcome for the company's constituents, including for shareholders," she said."Importantly, the go-shop process provides an opportunity to determine if there are alternatives superior to the present proposal from the Fairfax consortium."
Last week, the smartphone firm confirmed reports it was slashing its global workforce by 40 per cent – 4,500 staff – and added that it was anticipating losses of up to $995m in its imminent Q2 results.
BlackBerry has faltered in the smartphone market in recent years, losing out to Android-based devices and iPhones.
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