NEWS

BlackBerry shares slump after company denies Samsung offer report

01/15/2015 11:26 EST | Updated 03/17/2015 05:59 EDT
Shares in BlackBerry fell almost 18 per cent in early trading today, after the smartphone maker denied a media report that Korean electronics giant Samsung was making a takeover offer.

“BlackBerry has not engaged in discussions with Samsung with respect to any possible offer to purchase BlackBerry,” the Waterloo, Ont., company said in a statement Wednesday night.

Samsung also denied the report from Reuters, with a spokesperson saying it was “groundless.”

That report sent BlackBerry shares up as much as 30 per cent in frenzied, last-minute trading on Wednesday, to close at $15.25 on the Toronto Stock Exchange and $12.60 US on the Nasdaq.

On Thursday morning, BlackBerry shares on the TSE were trading in the range of $12.50.

Reuters reported Samsung had offered to pay as much as $7.5 billion for BlackBerry, citing a source “familiar with the matter,” as well as relevant documents.

No need for a shotgun wedding

BlackBerry shouldn’t be in any rush to sell itself off, according to Carmi Levy, a technology analyst and writer with Voices.com, in an interview with CBC News.

“BlackBerry’s on a much stronger footing now than it has been in years, and as a result, there is no burning need for the company to seek a suitor,” said Levy. “And if one does come calling, then they are going to have to pay a significant premium, likely much more than the reported $7.5-billion figure that we heard this week.”

Since refocusing its strategy to focus on business customers, BlackBerry is becoming strong enough to stand on its own, added Levy.

“[CEO John Chen] is charged with maximizing shareholder value, and he is compelled ...  to entertain any serious offers that might generate a larger return for investors than ongoing operations would,” said Levy. “That being said, the company has quite frankly not been this healthy in years, and is positioned to become the cash cow that investors have always wanted it to be.

“You don’t walk away from the party before the DJ begins to play, and from where I sit, the music is just getting started,” added Levy.

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