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BlackBerry Messenger worth more like $3.5B: Expert

Tuesday, 25 Feb 2014 | 4:06 PM ET
Tech Yeah! BlackBerry back to basics
CNBC's Josh Lipton and CNET Senior Editor Dan Ackerman discuss BlackBerry's Q20 smartphone, unveiled at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

BlackBerry may be willing to take a buyout offer for its BBM messaging service—but the company's asking price could far exceed its estimated value.

"If somebody comes to me with $19 billion, I would definitely sell it. I would recommend to the board to take it," BlackBerry CEO John Chen told CNBC at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

It is no coincidence that Chen used that figure, given Facebook's deal last week to buy messaging service WhatsApp.

BlackBerry Messenger
Simon Dawson | Bloomberg | Getty Images
BlackBerry Messenger

(Read more: Zuckerberg says WhatsApp is worth more than $19 billion)

"Based on some recent communication company sales, from Viber to WhatsApp, and applying the same dollar-per-user calculation, [BlackBerry] is worth between $650 million and $3.4 billion," said CNET Senior Editor Dan Ackerman.

BBM has an estimated 85 million monthly active users, while WhatsApp has more than 450 million.

(Read more: Did investors miss the message on the value of BlackBerry's BBM?)

Separately at the Mobile World Congress, BlackBerry unveiled its Q20 mobile phone, a throwback to some of its older models with a QWERTY keypad and trackpad.

While it makes sense for BlackBerry to focus on what's worked well, it's not likely to be enough to save the company, according to Ackerman.

"Even if the Q20 is a great [BlackBerry] phone, in the way that the Q10 wasn't, it's still fighting a losing fight long term," he said.

As workers increasingly use their personal smartphones for work instead of having a separate phone, Ackerman said, the need for an additional BlackBerry device could be dwindling.

—By CNBC's Althea Chang

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