Updated from Jan. 14 to include official denial from both Samsung and BlackBerry.
Reuters reported that Samsung recently approached BlackBerry for acquisition talks, with Samsung looking to acquire the Waterloo, Ontario-based BlackBerry for $7.5 billion to gain access to its patents. Many on Wall Street think it's a good move.
"Strategically it makes a lot of sense," said Hudson Square analyst Dan Ernst via email. "Samsung wants into the enterprise and wants less reliance on Google (GOOG - Get Report) ." The reported purchase price of $7.5 billion would represent a sharp premium over BlackBerry's market cap, which had been just over $4 billion prior to the report.
BlackBerry shares gained 29.7% following the report, to $12.60 at Wednesday's close.
Samsung denied the reports, as did BlackBerry, which said that it was not in talks with the company. "BlackBerry Limited is aware of certain press reports published today with respect to a possible offer by Samsung to purchase BlackBerry. BlackBerry has not engaged in discussions with Samsung with respect to any possible offer to purchase BlackBerry," the company said in a release. "BlackBerry's policy is not to comment on rumors or speculation, and accordingly it does not intend to comment further."
The potential acquisition comes after both BlackBerry and Samsung have seen their share of the smartphone market fade in recent months. Rival Apple has seen exceptionally strong demand for its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
According to research firm Gartner, BlackBerry had just 0.8% market share by operating system around the world, compared to 12.7% for Apple's iOS and 83.1% for Google's Android. On a handset level, Samsung owned 20.6% of the worldwide market in the third quarter of 2014, down from 25.7% in the third quarter of 2013. Apple, by contrast, had 8.4% of the handset market, up from 6.7% in the third quarter of 2013.
BlackBerry recently reported its fiscal 2015 third-quarter results, which showed some improvement in reducing the cost structure and generating positive cash flow, but revenue continued to decline.
In BlackBerry's fiscal 2015 third quarter, the company posted a far better-than-expected adjusted profit of $6 million, with earnings of 1 cent a share. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were anticipating a loss of 5 cents. Revenue during the three-month period proved to be a surprise of a different kind, coming in at $793 million vs. a market consensus of $931.53 million.
During the quarter, BlackBerry sold just 1.9 million smartphones, noticeably less than the 2.1 million sold in the prior quarter and below analysts' expectations of greater than 2 million devices sold.
The disappointing hardware sales were amplified by analysts' hopes that the BlackBerry Passport, which went on sale in late September, would buoy the category and drive up average selling prices for devices. During the conference call, CEO John Chen admitted that hardware sales were weaker than expected, and said the company's production capabilities were limited in the quarter.
--Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York
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