The company said in a statement that Fairfax Financial had offered $9 (£) a share in cash to buy the company. Fairfax is already BlackBerry’s largest stakeholder, already owning around ten per cent of the company.
BlackBerry has been struggling for the last few years as Apple and Google have devoured its market share. The company had controlled the business sector, and had a sizeable share of the consumer market.
Smartphones powered by Apple and Google’s operating systems have increasingly worked their way into business as companies allow more and more employees to use their own handset.
On Friday, BlackBerry announced that it will be cutting 4,500 jobs in a bid to stem losses. The company said that it expects to make a loss of up to $1 billion following poor sales of new handsets.
Earlier this year, the company had said it was considering selling to a private company.
Yesterday, the company announced that it had “signed a letter of intent agreement under which a consortium to be led by Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited has offered to acquire the company subject to due diligence”.
The statement continued: “Diligence is expected to be complete by November 4, 2013. The parties’ intention is to negotiate and execute a definitive transaction agreement by such date.”
BlackBerry said that the talks were not exclusive and it was continuing to “actively solicit, receive, evaluate and potentially enter into negotiations” with other potential buyers.
One analyst said that the company was likely to use the sale as an opportunity to retreat to the business market without the glare of Wall Street trying to push it in the direction of bigger sales.
“Early indications suggest a retrenchment to the business market,” commented Ben Wood, chief of research at CCS Insight. “Wider structural changes such as spinning off Blackberry Messenger and cutting back on hardware are also likely be carefully reviewed.”