BlackBerry denies report of takeover talks with Samsung

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BlackBerry Ltd. denied a report Wednesday that it has had talks with Samsung over a possible takeover of the Canadian company.

“BlackBerry has not engaged in discussions with Samsung with respect to any possible offer to purchase BlackBerry,” the company said in a statement Wednesday.

A Reuters report, citing a person that it didn’t identify, had said Wednesday that executives met last week to discuss a potential deal. South Korea-based Samsung reportedly offered to buy BlackBerry for $13.35 to $15.49 per share, valuing the company at as much as $7.5 billion.

BlackBerry shares slid 16 percent after the company’s statement. The stock had jumped nearly 30 percent, or $2.89 Wednesday to close at $12.60.

Samsung declined to comment.

Any foreign takeover would also require approval from the Canadian government. Asked if the Canadian government has been approached about the deal, Jessica Fletcher, a spokeswoman for Canadian Industry Minister James Moore, said: “We don’t comment on rumors and speculation.”

BlackBerry has not been able to compete with Apple Inc.’s iPhone or Android smartphones made by Samsung and other companies. It now holds a small fraction of the U.S. smartphone market. It had nearly half the market in 2009.

The company has been expanding its efforts to sell mobile-security software on its rivals’ smartphones and tablets to help counter the waning popularity of its own devices. It unveiled its latest phone, the Classic, in December. Aimed at the business user, the Classic has a traditional keyboard, unlike the touchscreens that are on the most popular smartphones. But whether BlackBerry will sell enough of them to stay relevant in the hardware business is unclear.

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