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BlackBerry Enters Into Letter of Intent to Sell Itself (Update 1)

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- BlackBerry (BBRY - Get Report) shares are halted again, as the company entered into a letter of Intent to sell itself to a consortium led by Fairfax Financial Holdings for $9 a share in cash.

The transaction would value the company at $4.7 billion, some $400 million more than where the stock recently changed hands. Fairfax currently owns about 10% of BlackBerry's common shares. The consortium is currently seeking financing from BofA Merrill Lynch and BMO Capital Markets.

Due diligence on the deal is expected to be complete by Nov. 4. BlackBerry has the opportunity to receive and solicit other alternative bids for itself.

In a press release, Barbara Stymiest, chair of BlackBerry's board, said, "The Special Committee is seeking the best available outcome for the Company's constituents, including for shareholders. Importantly, the go-shop process provides an opportunity to determine if there are alternatives superior to the present proposal from the Fairfax consortium."

Prem Watsa, who was on BlackBerry's board before the board announced a committee to evaluate opportunities to sell itself, said, "We believe this transaction will open an exciting new private chapter for BlackBerry, its customers, carriers and employees. We can deliver immediate value to shareholders, while we continue the execution of a long-term strategy in a private company with a focus on delivering superior and secure enterprise solutions to BlackBerry customers around the world."

BlackBerry shares were halted last week as the company disclosed it was scaling back its consumer business, laying off 4,500 people, and pre-announced quarterly results that badly missed Wall Street's estimates.

Shares were recently changing hands at $8.23, down 5.6% on the day.

-- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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