Cerberus, Qualcomm may join bid with BlackBerry co-founders

As the deadline approaches for Fairfax Financial to firm up its offer for BlackBerry, the two companies are jumping into the ring with co-founders Mike Lazaridis and Doug Fregin, The Wall Street Journal reports.

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BlackBerry's Z10 smartphone. Josh Miller/CNET

Just days before Fairfax Financial Holdings is set to firm up its $4.7 billion offer for BlackBerry, bidding for the embattled smartphone maker has become more intense.

Cerberus Capital Management is now officially in talks to team up with BlackBerry co-founders Mike Lazaridis and Doug Fregin for a possible joint bid for the smartphone maker, according to The Wall Street Journal (subscription required).

Although it's not entirely clear who else might join their effort, it looks as if Qualcomm, too, is in talks to join the Cerberus group, the Journal said.

Reports had surfaced early last month that Cerberus was seeking to sign a confidentiality agreement that would give it access to BlackBerry's private financial information.

But if Cerberus and company do indeed have their sights set on an offer, they'll have to do it quickly. Fairfax, which is BlackBerry's biggest shareholder with a 10 percent stake in the company, has until November 4 to complete its due diligence of the company's financial shape. At that point, others besides Fairfax can put in offers for the smartphone maker.

And there could be others besides the Cerberus group who are waiting patiently on the sidelines, ready to step in once that Monday deadline lapses. In a coy interview with Canadian newspaper Globe and Mail, ex-Apple CEO John Sculley seemed to be mulling a BlackBerry bid as well, saying he's a "longtime BlackBerry fan and user."

In a few days, we should know if there are more names to add to the list of potential bidders.