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BlackBerry, Facebook ‘met over potential bid’

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The leading social network has made a priority of following its more than one billion members onto smartphones and tablets

A view of a tablet and a smartphone displaying the Facebook app's splash screen on May 10, 2012 in Washington, DC (AFP/File, Brendan Smialowski)

A view of a tablet and a smartphone displaying the Facebook app’s splash screen on May 10, 2012 in Washington, DC (AFP/File, Brendan Smialowski)

AFP – BlackBerry executives met with their counterparts at Facebook last week over a potential bid for the struggling Canadian phone-maker, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

Although BlackBerry is weighing a sale, it was unclear whether Facebook plans to bid on the company, the Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.

The leading social network has made a priority of following its more than one billion members onto smartphones and tablets, and of finding ways to make money from visits by users on mobile devices.

Blackberry has $2.6 billion in cash, though that figure is eroding as the smartphone-maker loses traction in the market.

The company’s patents, with an estimated value of between $1 billion and $3 billion, are likely the most attractive BlackBerry asset for Facebook, the Journal speculated.

The patents namely cover security-network technology and smartphone component patents, which would be key to a company seeking to get a head start in the competitive smartphone market. BlackBerry also has about 70 million subscribers.

Last month, the company reached a preliminary deal for a $4.7-billion buyout by Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited, but also left the door open to other offers.

The Journal separately reported earlier this month that Chinese computer giant Lenovo Group Ltd. was mulling a possible counterbid to buy Blackberry, and BlackBerry has signed a nondisclosure agreement with distressed asset specialists Cerberus Capital Management LP.


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