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HindustanTimes Wed,20 Aug 2014

Hyderabad-born Watsa may bid for BlackBerry

Reuters  Toronto, August 13, 2013
First Published: 22:14 IST(13/8/2013) | Last Updated: 11:55 IST(14/8/2013)

Often called Canada’s Warren Buffet, Prem Watsa, BlackBerry’s largest investor, is touted as a possible bidder of the struggling smartphone maker.

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Watsa, who was born in 1950 in Hyderabad, is the chief executive of BlackBerry’s top shareholder Fairfax Financial said that he believes BlackBerry can turn itself around, but that it might take three to five years.

Since January 2012, a period when Fairfax has raised its stake in the company from just over 2% to just under 10%, BlackBerry’s share price is down about 25%.

Watsa stepped down from the BlackBerry board on Monday, citing a potential conflict of interest, as the company said it was exploring the sale of itself and other options.

While some market analysts said Fairfax, with a market capitalisation of $8.7 billion, would be too small to purchase BlackBerry (which has a market capitalisation of C$5.8 billion), others said the signs that Watsa could be working behind the scenes were a positive.

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