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No takers? Why potential buyers won't line up for BlackBerry

CEO Thorsten Heins with the BlackBerry 10 in January.
Getty Images
CEO Thorsten Heins with the BlackBerry 10 in January.

It doesn't look like suitors will be coming out of the woodwork to bid for BlackBerry now that it's exploring a possible sale. Instead, it's more likely the handset maker will be a part of a private equity buyout or will sell off parts of its business, analysts say.

"Private equity is probably the best chance," said Brian Colello, a senior equity analyst at Morningstar. "If you are talking about an acquisition by another party, Lenovo was rumored in the past, but I think there are regulatory concerns."

In a move designed to help the Canadian company buy more time to push its BlackBerry 10 smartphones, the company said Monday that its board had formed a special committee to explore "strategic alternatives."

Some of those alternatives could include joint ventures, partnerships, a sale of the company or other forms of alliances. Regulatory concerns aren't the only reason a direct purchase by another handset maker may be blocked.

(Read more: What's BlackBerry worth, anyway? )

The Canadian government views BlackBerry as a source of national pride and probably will want to keep its patents and the company as a whole, Colello said on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" on Monday.

"I think an acquisition from an outside party is very tough," he said. "I think if anything, that's what is getting investors excited—private equity might be the best chance at a bailout at this point.

"For any investor that thinks there is upside, it is an attractive opportunity," he added. "We are a bit skeptical that there is any upside. I think the market is priced as if there is no chance they will come back."

(Read more: BlackBerry shares soar as company explores 'strategic alternatives')

BlackBerry was trading at $10.52 a share at midday Monday, giving the company a market capitalization of $5.42 billion.

Taking BlackBerry private won't be easy, either, said Macquarie analyst Kevin Smithen on "Squawk on the Street" on Monday.

"This is a very different company than Dell," he said. "This company is burning through cash at $250-plus million a quarter, and as a result I think it's going to be unlikely that a financial sponsor will be able to leverage the balance sheet to take it private. We think it's probably a combination—a take under, if you will—of one or more strategic buyers, probably at a lower price."

Colin Gillis, a technology analyst for BGC, said in a note Monday that his firm did not see any obvious strategic buyers for BlackBerry, as Apple, Google and Microsoft have their own platforms. Samsung may have some interest, because it might aim to reduce its dependence on Google's Android operating system, he added.

"It is possible that the company may be able to pull together a consortium to take BlackBerry private, Gillis said. "If that is possible, the company should do it, immediately. That said, it may be difficult to find the capital needed to take the company private given the declining business metrics."

Some Asian handset vendors could want to look at BlackBerry's Asian and Latin American distribution networks for hardware, and perhaps one of the U.S. enterprise companies would be willing to pay a low price for its enterprise service business, Smithen said.

"Clearly, some of the legacy technology companies out there have been struggling with the transition to mobile, and BlackBerry clearly has, at least today, a large enterprise customer base," he said. "So I can see why on the surface some of the PC vendors might be interested in this technology, but I just don't see why they would pay for an eroding asset."

Strategically, the company could also transform into a software company if the BlackBerry 10 fails, Colello said.

(Read more: Apple sets iPhone launch date, Wall Street says buy now )

"They do have some assets; they do have value in the company," he said. "But we don't see much more value, particularly with the stock at $10.50 or so."

By CNBC's Cadie Thompson. Follow her on Twitter @CadieThompson.

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