Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Blackerry Agrees to $4.7 Billion Buyout from Major Shareholder

Oh dear! Blackberry top guns could not pull the company out of the woods. They are selling it to a shareholder. Fairfax Financial Holdings, which has the largest share in the company has made an offer and is seeking to take it private in a deal that values the smartphone manufacturer at just US$4.7 billion -- a far cry from its peak in 2009 when the company was worth US$84 billion. How art the mighty fallen!

BlackBerry confirmed the deal. The directors of the company are recommending the offer.

The consortium is offering US$9 per share to buy the company - a premium on the share price earlier today, but below the average of US$10.60 per share the company was trading at before it announced last week's billion dollar loss and 4,500 redundancies.

At the end of the second quarter, Blackberry had around US$2.6 billion in cash and equivalents in the bank -- so the net cost to the buyers of the company comes in at just US$2.1 billion.

Fairfax, which owns approximately 10 percent of BlackBerry's shares, intends to contribute its stake into the transaction.

Prem Watsa, Chairman and CEO of Fairfax, 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."

The due diligence on the company is expected to be completed in early November, and the company is free to seek out competing offers from other buyers. Considering the patent pool owned by the company, and its large BBM consumer base, other handset and service providers may be keen to launch a hostile counter bid.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

BlackBerry Introduces the New BlackBerry Z30 Smartphone

Blackberry Z30
For all of you gadgets gatherers, a new toy is in town: BlackBerry Z30, which the company says is its fastest ever model.

Featuring BlackBerry 10 OS version 10.2, the new smartphone comes with a 5" display and the largest battery yet on a BlackBerry smartphone.

"The new BlackBerry Z30 smartphone builds on the solid foundation and engaging user experience of the BlackBerry 10 platform with features like the powerful BlackBerry Hub, its exceptional touchscreen keyboard and industry leading browser," said Carlo Chiarello, Executive Vice President for Products at BlackBerry.

The hardware comes with a 1.7 GHz processor with quadcore graphics and new antenna technology that dynamically tunes reception to give users better connectivity in low signal areas.

The BlackBerry Z30 smartphone will roll out from select carriers and retailers around the world beginning next week in the UK and Middle East, and all other regions going into the holiday season. Specific pricing and availability will be announced by partners at the time of their respective launches.

Subject to mobile network approvals, BlackBerry OS version 10.2 is expected to be available beginning mid-October.


How transparent are we, really?

Just saw a vacancy advert for a driver at the British Council. Employer's expectations were clearly spelt out and what the would-be employee would be entitled to from salary to working hours and deductible tax were spelt out. With that level of transparency, there'll be no surprise for either party. Plus the recruitment process is not complicated by people who already enjoy far more enhanced conditions of service with their current employers, but are blindly fighting to get what they don't need.

In Nigeria, many blindly fight for a post and displace people who genuinely need it only to receive letters of appointment with offers far below what they are enjoying with their subsisting employers. Why do we do that stupid thing?

Why is it that Nigerian employers advertise vacancies full of their own expectations and not a word of what the employee should expect? In some societies you cannot advertise a position without stating the starting basic salary range. You cannot advertise a product without putting its price, even if it is asking price.

What's wrong with us? Is this to do with some intrinsic deviousness in us or some inherent tendency of a typical Nigerian to cheat, short-change or 419 his fellow men and women? Isn’t this some form of corruption we fail to recognise? Can we as a country be a little more transparent and fair to ourselves?