Who Is Fairfax and Why He Wants to Buy a BlackBerry?

These last days are being really agitated for a BlackBerry that many have already buried. First, after the dismissal of last week, and second, after the confirmed offer yesterday from an unknown company called Fairfax Financial.

Of course, the questions that arise about the possible acquisition are many, and occur the future of BlackBerry seems committed. Are there other options? Do you have BlackBerry devices and operating system fit into the future of mobility?

Who is Fairfax Financial?

Fairfax Financial is not an unknown for BlackBerry: the company already has 10% of the shares of this maker, and all indications are that barring surprises the agreement will close on November 4, time BlackBerry has offered to listen to other offers.

This Canadian company – everything is at home, they will say some – has nevertheless traditional or direct relationship with the mobility segment. Revenues come from its real estate, insurance, or investment management divisions, which qualifies – com own osu name suggests – as a company with an absolutely financial approach.

It is interesting to see that already in August the CEO of Fairfax, Prem Watsa, resigned from his post on the Board of Directors of BlackBerry by a conflict of interest: in August of this year held a meeting that suggested the search for potential buyers, and that resignation was already the interest of Fairfax for BlackBerry.

How much is BlackBerry worth?

Be acquired by Fairfax, the unknowns about their future are remarkable. Watsa said yesterday Monday that that sale to your company “it opens a new and exciting chapter for BlackBerry, its customers, operators and employees”.

Of course, those words ring hollow, especially considering that we are talking about a financial company that is likely already very clear the future of the manufacturer. Either way, the market value of BlackBerry is surprising for a company that was a leader in the market in the past decade.

Several analysts have conducted several studies on the current value of BlackBerry, and for example are running that the real value of the BlackBerry terminals business is now zero dollars: the reason for the existence of the company does not seem to be significant in view of the evolution of the market and despite the efforts of these months , especially with the launch of BlackBerry 10.

Other company resources Yes would have value, such as BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), which some estimated at 1,200 million dollars, and that includes the BlackBerry Enterprise Server software. It should take into account the 2,800 million dollars that the company has in the Bank.

The most interesting for many is the catalogue of patents for BlackBerry, which has an estimated value of $ 1,000 million – although that estimate could be wrong by default – both excess. This catalogue includes 5,236 patents and 3,730 registrations of patents waiting to be approved, which is already an interesting loot for Fairfax if you intend to use those patents aggressively, for licecniar technologies, or to go to reselling those patents.

What is the future of BlackBerry?

If finally the company is bought by Fairfax Financial – supported by Bank of America Merrill Lynch and BMO Capital Markets, it is not all clear that the company continue designing and developing devices and software for mobile.

Historical shares of BlackBerry development. Amazing.

BlackBerry proposal has not become popular despite their hard work – BB10 is a notable operating system – and both users and developers have preferred to go migrating to other platforms.

Nor does it seem feasible that Fairfax bet follow manufacturing terminals but making the leap to another platform like Android or maybe Windows Phone.

It was rumored that Microsoft might be interested in the portfolio of patents and BBM especially at the enterprise level, but after investing in Nokia does not seem likely in Redmond are willing to go back collecting the remains of companies that still do not materialize in the market to take advantage of their resources.

Everything seems to point to a patent and management platform BBM, I suppose, Fairfax will try to trade for BlackBerry has done so far. The availability of BBM on iOS and Android – curious that Windows Phone is not included in this support – could nevertheless be swansong of this development. Things, paint certainly wrong for the traditional business of BlackBerry.