BlackBerry shares up on reports asset auction could come by November

TORONTO – BlackBerry shares crept up another 2.5 per cent on Thursday as investors responded to reports that the smartphone maker wants to launch an auction process sooner than later.

The Waterloo, Ont.-based company’s stock rose 29 cents to $11.57 near midday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The list of likely buyers of BlackBerry’s assets has been slowly whittled down over the past week as Microsoft announced plans to buy Nokia Corp.’s handset division for US$7.17 billion.

Chinese technology company Huawei also appear uninterested after board member Chen Lifang told reporters in London that the company isn’t shopping around for acquisition targets, but plans to focus instead on existing operations.

A report from the Wall Street Journal says BlackBerry has already narrowed the list of potential bidders, a likely move after announcing last month that it would explore several “strategic alternatives” including its possible sale.

The Journal cited unnamed sources as saying that an auction process could be completed as early as November.