End of BlackBerry? Company Speeds Up Sale Process

Stagehands prepare for the introduction of the BlackBerry 10, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013 in New York. The maker of the BlackBerry smartphone is promising a speedy browser, a superb typing experience and the ability to keep work and personal identities separate on the same phone, the fruit of a crucial, long-overdue makeover for the Canadian company. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Mark Lennihan/AP
By Cadie Thompson

Just when it looked like things couldn't get any bleaker for BlackBerry, they did.

The struggling handset maker is now aiming to quickly auction itself off, possibly as soon as November, according to a Dow Jones report.

BlackBerry (BBRY) has been in discussions with multiple parties interested in buying parts of the company or the company as a whole, the report said.

The company said in August that it was exploring "strategic alternatives" and had formed a special committee of board members. According to the report, the board has narrowed down interested parties and will begin the sales process soon.
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It was previously speculated that Microsoft (MSFT) might be keen to buy BlackBerry; however, that chance likely went out the window when Microsoft announced its $7.2 billion purchase of Nokia's (NOK) mobile business, industry analysts said.

"BlackBerry isn't even on life support. They are in a much worse position, they are almost finished," said Trip Chowdhry, an analyst at Global Equities Research.

There are no suitors out there that could really benefit from all of BlackBerry's assets, though parts of its business could be valuable for non-handset makers, analysts said.

"It's hard to think anyone would want to buy them lock, stock and barrel," said Charles Golvin, a principal analyst at Forrester Research. "I think they have components that are valuable. But I don't think they will survive as the BlackBerry we know today."

It's possible BlackBerry could take a hint from Nokia and sell off its mobile hardware business to a smartphone manufacturer, such as Lenovo or ZTE, and transform itself into an enterprise software business.

But the company maker can rule out a purchase from Microsoft or Google (GOOG) because they both have already invested in mobile hardware components, Chowdhry said.

"I see doom and gloom for BlackBerry," he said.

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