Update January 14, 2015, 2:32pm PST: BlackBerry denies that it is in talks with Samsung over an acquisition deal: “BlackBerry has not engaged in discussions with Samsung with respect to any possible offer to purchase BlackBerry.” The statement, however, is not a blanket denial that it might be in some other sort of talks with Samsung. We’ve contacted BlackBerry for further clarification, and will report back if the company responds. Update 2: BlackBerry has responded, declining to comment further. Update 3, January 20, 2015: Bloomberg reports that the companies did negotiate, but for a partnership over enterprise security. See below.
Samsung has supposedly approached BlackBerry in a $7.5 billion takeover bid, reports Reuters. Its sources say that executives from both companies were in talks as recently as last week—presumably during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
If true, the deal could offer relief to the venerable but ailing smartphone maker. It would also presumably give the South Korean tech giant a slew of patents covering everything from enterprise technology and security to Internet of Things initiatives, where BlackBerry has recently been making its push.
Samsung’s mobile business also had a dismal earnings year. Now it appears to be pursuing mid-tier devices, including its just-announced Z1 smartphone in India, the company’s first handset powered by its own homegrown Tizen software. Samsung hopes to turn the open-source mobile operating system into a platform for its own take on the Internet of Things. A BlackBerry acquisition might help it strengthen its position.
BlackBerry has been struggling back to relevance in recent years, though its stock has jumped 29% on the heels of the Reuters report. [Update: After the initial surge, the stock price appears to have turned, falling 13%.]
Screen shot of BlackBerry press conference captured by Adriana Lee for ReadWrite
Update, January 20, 2015: Bloomberg reports that the negotiations between Samsung and BlackBerry center on a partnership between the two, not an acquisition. According to the site, Samsung wants to cut a deal to work with BlackBerry on enterprise security for its Knox technology.