BlackBerry’s largest shareholder has offered to buy the company

BlackBerry agrees to £2.93 billion sale

BlackBerry has agreed to a $4.7 billion (£2.93 billion) buyout offer from its largest shareholder: Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd.

The head of Fairfax, Prem Watsa, is a former board member who owns 10 per cent of the struggling phone maker.

“This transaction will open an exciting new private chapter for BlackBerry, its customers, carriers and employees,” said Watsa.

"We can deliver immediate value to shareholders while we continue the execution of a long-term strategy in a private company."

Following the buyout, shareholders will receive $9 (£5.60) per share.

“Irrespective of this bid, questions around BlackBerry’s future remain unchanged,” said Ben Wood, chief of research at analyst firm CCS Insight.

“It seems unlikely it can continue as it is and while the most attractive option is to focus on business users, tough decisions will need to be made about which parts of the business to persevere with and which pieces to spin off or abandon,”

BlackBerry had recently cut 4,500 jobs, some 40 per cent of it’s global workforce, in order to combat Q2 losses of $995 million (£624 million) and make the company more appealing to potential buyers.

The loss was attributed by BlackBerry to its Z10 smartphone, which failed to gain traction in the market.

BlackBerry has 2.9 per cent of the market, according to research by IDC. The peak share held by BlackBerry was in 2009, when it controlled 20 per cent of the smartphone market.

By comparison, as of Q2 2013, Apple currently holds 13.2 per cent, Windows Phone 3.7 per cent and Android 79.3 per cent.

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