UPDATE 1-Fairfax seeks $1 bln equity for BlackBerry deal -Globe
(Adds share-price drop, Teachers pension plan declines comment)
TORONTO, Sept 25 (Reuters) - Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd is seeking more than $1 billion in equity investments from institutional investors to back its preliminary $4.7 billion plan to acquire BlackBerry Ltd , the Globe and Mail reported on Wednesday.
Citing unnamed people familiar with the discussions, the Canadian newspaper said Fairfax Chief Executive Prem Watsa has personally contacted several leading Canadian and U.S. pension and private-equity funds to win support for the bid to buy the struggling smartphone maker.
The sources said that as of Tuesday only one pension fund, the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, was seriously considering joining a takeover consortium. Teachers declined to comment on the report.
Skepticism about the Fairfax bid appeared to be mounting on Wednesday, with BlackBerry shares falling almost 4 percent to $8.20 on the Nasdaq, well below the $9-a-share offer price. In Toronto the stock was also down about 4 percent at C$8.43.
The Globe and Mail said Watsa was pitching the acquisition as a leveraged buyout that would be financed with more than $3 billion in bank loans, $1 billion in equity from institutions and Fairfax's nearly 10 percent stake in BlackBerry.
If it falls short of raising the equity to help finance the potential takeover, the Globe said Fairfax intends to arrange a short-term bridge loan that could be repaid with BlackBerry's cash holdings of about $2.6 billion.
Fairfax and BlackBerry could not be reached immediately for comment.
Fairfax's proposal was announced on Monday. BlackBerry, which put itself on the block in August, warned last Friday of dropping sales, a big operating loss and job cuts.
If the bid succeeds, it is seen as giving BlackBerry some breathing room, but would not necessarily solve the problems that have pushed the smartphone maker into a corner.
(Reporting by Alastair Sharp and Jeffrey Hodgson; Editing by Peter Galloway)