BlackBerry says it hasn't discussed potential takeover with Samsung

Reuters report that Samsung and BlackBerry were in talks had sent stock prices up by nearly 30 per cent

BlackBerry CEO John Chen. (Dave Chidley/The Canadian Press)

BlackBerry CEO John Chen. (Dave Chidley/The Canadian Press)

TORONTO – BlackBerry has responded to a dramatic jump in its stock price, saying late Wednesday that it has not engaged in discussions with Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. about a possible takeover.

The response followed a report from Reuters news agency which said Samsung has met with executives over the possibility of buying BlackBerry for as much as US$7.5 billion. The news agency cited both a source familiar with the talks and related documents.

BlackBerry shares jumped nearly 30 per cent after the report emerged, leading the company to react with a public statement.

“BlackBerry has not engaged in discussions with Samsung with respect to any possible offer to purchase BlackBerry,” the company said.

The comments from BlackBerry did not address whether Samsung has expressed interest in BlackBerry that executives at the company haven’t entertained.

However, the company said its policy is “not to comment on rumours or speculation and, accordingly, it does not intend to comment further.”

A representative for South Korea-based Samsung declined to comment.

BlackBerry has been in the crosshairs of interested buyers in the past. Last fall, Chinese company Lenovo was considered a potential bidder though an offer never materialized.

Chief executive officer John Chen has said he is focused on turning around operations at the company rather than hunting for interested buyers.

Traders reacted to the Reuters report by sending BlackBerry’s stock to its highest level since early 2012 on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Its shares closed Wednesday at C$15.02, an increase of $3.42 or almost 30 per cent.

In New York, BlackBerry shares closed up US$2.89 at US$12.60.

After BlackBerry issued its statement, traders appeared to show some hesitation, pulling the company’s stock back $1.97 to US$10.63 by shortly after 7 p.m. ET in after hours trading.

According to the report, Samsung had proposed a range of US$13.35 to US$15.49 per share in its initial approach to BlackBerry. The offer would be a premium of 38 to 60 per cent over BlackBerry’s stock price before the report emerged.

Offers for BlackBerry by an international buyer could raise concerns from the federal government, which would review any foreign takeover bid.

Finance Minister Joe Oliver declined to comment on whether the federal government had received notice from BlackBerry about interest from Samsung or any other buyers.

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