BlackBerry shares sink on bid doubts, T-Mobile stops stocking its phones

Thu Sep 26, 2013 7:38pm EDT
 
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By Alastair Sharp and Sinead Carew

TORONTO/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Shares in BlackBerry Ltd fell more than 6 percent on Wednesday on doubts about a $4.7 billion bid to take the smartphone maker private, and after a big U.S. carrier said it would stop stocking BlackBerry smartphones in its stores.

In an announcement that highlighted the faded relevance of the company that pioneered on-the-go email, T-Mobile US Inc said it was no longer efficient to keep BlackBerry devices in its stores.

T-Mobile, the fourth largest U.S. wireless provider, will still ship BlackBerrys to customers who want them, most of them business users, said David Carey, executive vice president for corporate services.

The announcement from T-Mobile, which competes aggressively on price and is better known for consumers than for business customers, followed BlackBerry's news that it is pulling back from the consumer market, where it has bled market share to Apple Inc's iPhone and devices using Google Inc's Android software.

BlackBerry, which put itself on the block in August, on Monday accepted a tentative $9 a share offer from a mostly Canadian consortium led by domestic insurer Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd, BlackBerry's biggest shareholder with a 10 percent stake.

BlackBerry says its second-quarter results will feature slumping sales, a big operating loss and hefty job cuts. It reports results on Friday, but canceled plans for a conference call with investors because of the Fairfax bid.

BlackBerry's Nasdaq-listed shares ended the day at $8.01, almost a dollar below the Fairfax group's offer price.

They rose slightly in after-market trade after Fairfax Chief Executive Prem Watsa, a savvy investor often described as Canada's answer to Warren Buffett, said he was confident the proposed deal would go ahead.   Continued...

 
Passers-by walk in front of a BlackBerry service centre in Jakarta September 25, 2013. REUTERS/Beawiharta