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Struggling smartphone manufacturer BlackBerry has entered into a Letter of Intent with lead shareholder Fairfax, agreeing a $4.7bn (£3bn) sale of the business in principle.

Fairfax, BlackBerry’s largest shareholder with approximately 10%, has offered $9 (£5.61) a share in cash in order to complete the takeover.

In a statement, BlackBerry have announced that while the takeover is agreed in principle “BlackBerry is permitted to actively solicit, receive, evaluate and potentially enter into negotiations with parties that offer alternative proposals.”

The sale of BlackBerry comes as little surprise to many after the firm’s declining market share saw Windows overtake BlackBerry to take 3rd in the operating system market. Declining handset sales means that the manufacturer is predicted to make a loss of up to $1bn and BlackBerry have now announced 4,500 redundancies to stem losses and lean the organisation.

The future of BlackBerry following this announcement

The consortium in charge of BlackBerry’s sale has 6 weeks to conduct due diligence. The parties’ intention is to negotiate and complete a definitive agreement by 4th November 2013 – though the process may take longer.

Assuming the sale of the firm goes through, Fairfax will then begin the task of breathing new life into the aging brand, settling upon a corporate strategy that will bring BlackBerry back to the forefront of mobile sales. One market BlackBerry is likely to address is the business mobile market – where the firm have been historically strong.

BlackBerry’s future is still not secured – though this new announcement is a step in the right direction.

Read BlackBerry’s full statement.

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