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In quest to determine BlackBerry’s worth, patent portfolio pegged at up to $5 billion

Published Aug 14th, 2013 4:40PM EDT

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BlackBerry is practically impossible to value right now, but that obviously won’t stop analysts from trying. With the struggling smartphone maker having recently announced that it is exploring a number of new strategic options including a sale, industry watchers are abuzz with ideas. Most tend to agree that no rival smartphone companies have any interest in BlackBerry, so financial institutions might be the best bet. Alternatively, BlackBerry could be torn apart and sold to several different firms, and MDB Capital Group CEO Chris Marlett thinks BlackBerry’s patents are still fairly valuable in today’s market.

“$2 billion to $3 billion … is easily justified … as there are approximately 9,000 patent assets with probably 100,000 claims that someone could take a shot at you with in a lawsuit,” Marlett told AllThingsD in a recent interview. His firm MDB Capital Group is an investment bank that focuses on intellectual property.

BlackBerry currently holds 5,236 U.S. patents and approximately 3,730 active patent applications, according to the report. If BlackBerry can manage to create a bidding war for its IP, Marlett thinks it could drive the price up to as much as $5 billion.

“This is probably the last big and current (wireless) portfolio available,” the executive said. “I don’t expect any other wireless-focused portfolio this big will come up for sale again anytime soon, so there will be intense interest in this portfolio.” Marlett believes BlackBerry’s enterprise business could also be worth between $4 billion and $5 billion to a company like Microsoft, though there is no indication that Microsoft has any interest in the company.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.