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Limping BlackBerry makes buyout overtures to Google, others -- report

The beleaguered smartphone maker is seeking "preliminary expressions of interest" for all or part of the company from Google, Samsung, LG, and others, according to news agency Reuters.

BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins
Geoff Robins/AFP/GettyImages

Struggling smartphone maker BlackBerry is in touch with Google, Samsung, Intel, and other tech heavyweights about a possible buyout, according to a Reuters report.

The news agency cites several unnamed sources "close to the matter" in reporting that the Canadian company "has asked for preliminary expressions of interest from potential strategic buyers" by early next week. Those contacted include Cisco, Google, Intel, LG, Samsung, and SAP, Reuters said, adding that those companies declined to comment (or, in Samsung's case, hadn't yet replied).

BlackBerry is floating the idea of a complete or partial acquisition, Reuters reports, and "the potential technology buyers have been especially interested in BlackBerry's secure server network and patent portfolio, although doubts about the assets' value remain an issue." It's not clear if any of the companies will make an offer.

Last month, Toronto-based insurer Fairfax Financial Holdings said it would lead a consortium that intends to take BlackBerry private, with a tentative $4.7 billion bid. The embattled smartphone maker is also said to have attracted interest from firms specializing in "distressed investing," including private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP.

In response to Reuters' queries about this latest info, BlackBerry told the news agency in a statement only that "the special committee, with the assistance of BlackBerry's independent financial and legal advisers, is conducting a robust and thorough review of strategic alternatives."

BlackBerry also apparently has some office space for sale.