Qualcomm “in talks” to join BlackBerry founders in bid for company

Qualcomm logoChipmaker Qualcomm is "in talks" to join a group that may attempt to purchase BlackBerry. The group includes BlackBerry founders Mike Lazaridis and Doug Fregin, who already made their interest in purchasing the company known three weeks ago.

Lazaridis and Fregin had hired Goldman Sachs and Centerview Partners to help them evaluate their options. Now, "Cerberus Capital Management LP is near an agreement to jointly pursue a bid for BlackBerry" with Lazaridis and Fregin, a Wall Street Journal report drawing from "people familiar with the matter" said today.

What is perhaps most surprising is that Qualcomm "is also in talks to join the potential Cerberus group." Qualcomm is already one of the giants of the smartphone industry, with its chips powering phones from HTC, Sony, LG, Nokia, Samsung, Motorola, BlackBerry, and others. But it's not a smartphone maker itself, having sold its phone business to Kyocera in 2000.

The potential bid for BlackBerry is by no means definite. BlackBerry has already agreed to go private in a $4.7 billion deal with a group led by Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited. The deal, announced Sept. 23, allowed BlackBerry a six-week due diligence period in which it could find a more attractive buyer.

"The jockeying among possible bidders comes on the eve of a Monday deadline for BlackBerry buyout offers," the Journal wrote. "The Canadian company and its advisers set the deadline to coincide with one for Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. to solidify its preliminary offer for the company."

The Cerberus/Lazaridis/Fregin/Qualcomm group could have competition from another big name. A Journal article two weeks ago said Lenovo was also considering a bid for BlackBerry.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: BlackBerry, Qualcomm

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