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Cerberus May Bid For BlackBerry: Report

BlackBerry shares spiked sharply mid-day Wednesday on reports that the struggling smartphone maker has found another bidder.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Cerberus Capital Management, a U.S.-based private equity firm, is interested in the Waterloo, Ont-based tech company and has requested access to BlackBerry's private financial information.

Shares of BlackBerry spiked from around $7.50 to $8 U.S. per share on the NASDAQ following the news.

A "person familiar with the matter" told the Journal that the request does not mean Cerberus will place a bid for BlackBerry.

Fairfax Financial Holdings, run by billionaire Prem Watsa, placed a $4.7-billion bid on BlackBerry last week, working out to $9 per share. BlackBerry has five weeks to shop around for a better offer.

This isn't the first time Cerberus has come in to help rescue a struggling Canadian company. It made a bid for Air Canada when the airline filed for bankruptcy in 2004. After a battle with other potential investors, the private equity firm won out and is now an investor in ACE Aviation, the holding company that owns Air Canada.

Some union leaders have criticized ACE Aviation's decisions, saying the company has been selling off valuable Air Canada assets in order to raise money for Cerberus.

BlackBerry reported a $965-million loss for the second quarter last week, having announced layoffs the week before that will amount to some 40 per cent of its work force.

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