BlackBerry agrees to $4.7 billion buyout

A woman looks at a Blackberry at the New York Times Schools For Tomorrow Conference on Sept. 17, 2013 in New York City. The Wall Street Journal reported on Sept. 18 that BlackBerry intended to cut 40 percent of its workforce.

BlackBerry announced Monday it agreed to a $4.7 billion buyout by a consortium of investors who plan to take the struggling Canadian smartphone maker private.

The company said in a statement that it has "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."

Fairfax, a Canadian firm, is already BlackBerry's largest shareholder with approximately 10 percent of its shares.

Under the proposed deal the consortium would offer $9 for each outstanding share, and Fairfax would contribute its own shares in the transaction.

BlackBerry said its board of directors support the plan.

A firm deal, once due diligence is completed, is expected to be announced by November 4. It hinges also on the consortium obtaining financing.

BlackBerry said it would continue a search for a possibly better suitor in the interim.

On Friday, the company announced it was laying off 40 percent of its workforce after a dismal launch of new smartphones earlier this year.