BlackBerry shares rise as Microsoft-Nokia move sparks hope for deal

Tue Sep 3, 2013 11:57am EDT
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By Euan Rocha

TORONTO, Sept 3 (Reuters) - Shares of struggling smartphone maker BlackBerry Ltd rose as much as 3.6 percent on Tuesday after Microsoft's move to acquire Nokia's handset business reignited investor optimism that BlackBerry too would find a buyer.

BlackBerry officially put itself on the block a few weeks ago in the face of lackluster sales for its new line of smartphones, and some analysts have been skeptical about whether it would be able to attract bidders as its business has shrunk.

But others argue that BlackBerry's pile of valuable patents and the well-regarded services business that powers its security-focused messaging system could be attractive to rivals or even private-equity players.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ EXCLUSIVE-BlackBerry open to going private BlackBerry may put itself up for sale FACTBOX-What are the main BlackBerry assets? ANALYSIS-Private BlackBerry is not a quick fix GRAPHIC-BlackBerry's decline ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^>

Shares of BlackBerry, which jumped as high as $10.48 early on Tuesday, were up 2.2 percent at $10.34 in midday trading on the Nasdaq, following the announcement of Microsoft's 5.44 billion euro ($7.2 billion) bid for Nokia.

Atlantic Equities analyst James Cordwell cautioned that it is hard to tell whether Microsoft's move will make others any more, or less interested in making a bid for BlackBerry.

"Nokia was already using the Microsoft's Windows platform, so integration-wise it is relatively straightforward," he said. "Whereas if anyone acquires BlackBerry, they will be acquiring it more for its network infrastructure and patent assets, as opposed to its handset business, so it will be a very differently driven deal."   Continued...