Samsung slams reports linking it to $7.5bn BlackBerry purchase

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Manufacturer labels media reports “groundless” after Reuters article claims executives from both firms met last week to discuss a potential deal 

Samsung has rubbished reports linking it to a $7.5 billion acquisition of BlackBerry.

According to Reuters, which cited a person close to the matter and documents it had seen, executives from both companies met last week to discuss a potential transaction.

The deal would likely be centred around 44,000 patents currently held by BlackBerry, worth more than $1.43 billion in value as of August, with Samsung looking to further its competition with Apple.

However, Samsung denied any deal was in the pipeline, and said in a statement: “Media reports of the acquisition are groundless.”

BlackBerry quickly released a statement following the report last night, also refuting claims made that talks had taken place between the two manufacturers.

“BlackBerry has not engaged in discussions with Samsung with respect any possible offer to purchase BlackBerry. BlackBerry’s policy is not to comment on rumour and speculation, and accordingly it does not to comment further.”

Reuters said if the deal was to proceed, it would face regulatory scrutiny in both Ottawa and Washington and under Canadian law, any foreign takeover of BlackBerry would acquire government approval under the Industry Canada Act.

It added Samsung and its advisors also think the approval process at the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS) would be complex. Reuters said the this committee reviews deals for national security implication.

In November, BlackBerry announced a partnership with Samsung that will see its BES 12 enterprise mobility management suite integrated into Samsung’s Knox security software.

Last month, BlackBerry CEO John Chen (pictured) said the manufacturer’s revenue was “not satisfying”, after it reported a $124 million quarterly fall in sales to $793 million million for the three months ending November 30.

It also posted a net loss of $148 million million compared with a $4.4 billion loss in the same quarter from a year ago but a profit of $6 million from the previous quarter.

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BlackBerry has released two headline handsets in recent months – the Passport in September and Classic (pictured) earlier this month, which takes the form factor of its previous Bold smartphones.

According to figures from IDC for Q3, BlackBerry’s OS market share stands at just 0.5 per cent – down from 1.7 per cent from the same quarter a year earlier.

Samsung experienced a mixed year in 2014, which began with the release of its flagship Galaxy S5 smartphone in April.

However, Samsung vowed to revamp his smartphone strategy to focus more on the mid-to-low-end segment following a 60 per cent slump in profits in Q3 to Won4.1 trillion (£2.4 billion), its lowest in more than three years.

In an earnings call with analysts to discuss the results, Samsung senior vice president Kim Hyun-joon admitted sales of its high-end smartphones, which include the Galaxy S5, were “somewhat weak.”

Earlier this month, Samsung said it expects its next quarterly profits (three months to December 31) to fall by more than a third (37 per cent) annually to Won5.2 trillion (£3.1 billion), with sales down 12 per cent to Won52 trillion.

According to the latest figures from analyst firm Strategy Analytics, Samsung’s global market share fell to 24.7 per cent in Q3 from 35 per cent a year ago. It shipped 79.2 million smartphones in the quarter, down from 88.4 million in the same three-month period 12 months ago.

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