Fairfax struggles to raise funds for BlackBerry bid -sources

NEW YORK Fri Nov 1, 2013 5:41pm EDT

NEW YORK Nov 1 (Reuters) - Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd is struggling to raise financing for its $4.7 billion bid for BlackBerry Ltd, with several large banks declining to loan it the money because they worry the smart phone maker will not be able to reverse its rapidly declining fortunes, according to people familiar with the matter.

Fairfax, which is run by Canadian financier Prem Watsa, is working with Bank of America Merrill Lynch and BMO Capital Markets to put together a lending syndicate for a deal, but they have been turned down by several large lenders, the sources said.

It is still possible that Bank of America Merrill Lynch will muster the necessary financing for Fairfax to submit a definitive bid.

Fairfax, the largest shareholder in BlackBerry with a 10 percent stake, reached a tentative $9 per share deal with BlackBerry in late September, and has until Nov. 4 to negotiate a definitive agreement.

Fairfax declined to comment on Friday on the progress of its bid. BlackBerry declined to comment as well.

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