surprise offer by Fairfax Financial to acquire woebegone smartphone maker BlackBerry for about $4.7 billion in cash. But the man at the center of the proposed deal, Fairfax CEO V. Prem Watsa,
has a track record for making smart deals that have made him the envy of the financial world -- not the least being a prescient decision to dump most of Fairfax's portfolio out of stocks and shift into safer bonds and cash just prior to the start of the great recession in 2008.
about Fairfax CEO V. Prem Watsa-
Prem Watsa (born 1950 in Hyderabad, India) is the founder, chairman, and chief executive of Fairfax Financial Holdings, based in Toronto, Ontario. He has been called the "Canadian Warren Buffett" by some during successful periods of investing.
He is a CFA charterholder, an alumnus of the Hyderabad Public School, Begumpet, a graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology with a degree in Chemical Engineering and a holder of an MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business of the University of Western Ontario. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the The Hospital for Sick Children, a member of the Advisory Board for the Richard Ivey School of Business, a member of the Board of Directors of the Royal Ontario Museum Foundation and as well as Chairman of the Investment Committee of St. Paul’s Anglican Church.
In June 2009, he was installed as the ninth chancellor of the University of Waterloo. On January 22, 2012, it was reported he was to be appointed to BlackBerry handset maker, Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM), board of directors in the company's largest ever corporate shakeup. Mr Watsa resigned in August 2013, but kept his investment in the company at the time. On September 23 2013, Blackberry announced that it had signed a letter of intent to be acquired by Prem Watsa led Fairfax Financial Holdings in a $4.7 Billion deal. Forty two years after he migrated to Canada, V Prem Watsa, who was then just another IIT engineer in search of an MBA, now holds the future of an ailing, but still iconic Blackberry in his hands. On Monday afternoon, a consortium led by Fairfax Financial Holdings, Watsa’s flagship company, bid $9 a share to buy out Blackberry. A 1971 batch IIT Chennai graduate in chemical engineering, Watsa arrived in Canada with little more than pocket change with which to pursue his dreams. He did his MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario. Since then, he has made a name for himself, mostly as an investor who identifies distressed and undervalued assets, bets on them, and reaps returns. Fairfax Financial Holdings, an insurance-cum-investment company that Watsa founded in 1985, went on to become Canada’s most profitable company in 2008. “I know he is an ardent admirer of Warren Buffett and is sometimes referred to as the Warren Buffett of Canada,” says MG Venkatesh Mannar, the Ottawa-based President of The Micronutrient Initiative, and Watsa’s senior at IIT-Madras. “I remember him then as a shy and reserved person (maybe he still is).”