OTTAWA (AFP) – BlackBerry announced Monday it agreed to a $4.7 billion buyout by a consortium of investors who plan to take the struggling Canadian smartphone maker private.
The company said in a statement that it has “signed a letter of intent agreement under which a consortium to be led by Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited has offered to acquire the company subject to due diligence.”
Fairfax, a Canadian firm, is already BlackBerry’s largest shareholder with approximately 10 percent of its shares.
Under the proposed deal the consortium would offer $9 for each outstanding share, and Fairfax would contribute its own shares in the transaction.
BlackBerry said its board of directors said support the plan.
A firm deal, once due diligence is completed, is expected to be announced by November 4. It hinges also on the consortium obtaining financing.
BlackBerry said it would continue a search for a possibly better suitor in the interim.
On Friday, the company announced it was laying off 40 percent of its workforce after a dismal launch of new smartphones earlier this year.