It’s not often a non-T-Mobile related story pops up that I think is big enough to warrant sharing with TmoNews readers, but the latest exclusive from Reuters is definitely an exception. The well-respected publication reports that Samsung has made an offer to buy BlackBerry for “as much as $7.5 billion”. Allegedly, Samsung’s prime motivation is to “gain access to its patent portfolio”. The site claims to have seen documents, as well as been told by its source “familiar with the matter.”
Samsung’s initial price range is between $13.35 and $15.49 per share, which is between 38 percent to 60 percent more than BBerry’s current trading price. The total value of the offer could be between $6B and $7.5B. As you’d expect, representatives from both companies haven’t replied to requests for comment yet. However, it’s rumored that executives from Samsung and BlackBerry met last week to discuss the deal.
Of course, if the deal did go through it could play out in a number of ways. First – and a big blow to BlackBerry fans – Samsung could close down the mobile arm and just use the company for its patents. Second – Samsung could simply rebrand BlackBerry devices as Samsung phones, keep the keyboards but run its own software on them. Presumably this would be Android/TouchWiz mashup.
But the big deal here, I think, is the security and encryption software. BlackBerry is trusted by governments and Fortune 500 companies. And its latest Enterprise Services (BES 12) is even more secure and protected than anything in the past. Samsung has Knox, which – although secure – hasn’t quite reached the level of trust that BlackBerry has managed. If Sammy could take BES 12, mix it up with Knox and release Samsung security services with the resulting concoction, government bodies might suddenly start buying thousands of Galaxies. Samsung would become a big enterprise player almost overnight.
Of course, this is hypothetical. But the fact that both are talking is a big deal. Do you think we’ll see Android-running, Knox-equipped BlackBerry phones? Or is the BlackBerry name going to disappear from the face of the earth? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
UPDATE: BlackBerry has denied the rumors in a press release:
Waterloo, ON – BlackBerry Limited (NASDAQ: BBRY; TSX: BB) (“BlackBerry”) is aware of certain press reports published today with respect to a possible offer by Samsung to purchase BlackBerry. BlackBerry has not engaged in discussions with Samsung with respect to any possible offer to purchase BlackBerry. BlackBerry’s policy is not to comment on rumors or speculation, and accordingly it does not intend to comment further.