BlackBerry announces possible sale of business


Has formed a Special Committee to look at ways to take the business forward, including sale, partnerships and joint ventures

BlackBerry's Board of Directors has today announced the company is looking at the possibility of selling or partnering to take the struggling business forward.

BlackBerry, which has seemed unable to compete successfully this year against rivals Samsung and Apple despite the launch of BlackBerry 10, has formed a Special Committee to explore strategic alternatives to enhance value and increase scale in order to accelerate BlackBerry 10 deployment.

It stated these alternatives could include joint ventures, strategic partnerships or alliances, a sale of the Company or other possible transactions.

The Special Committee of the Board is comprised of Barbara Stymiest, Thorsten Heins, Richard Lynch and Bert Nordberg, and Timothy Dattels. Dattels, Chairman of BlackBerry's Special Committee of the Board, commented: 'Given the importance and strength of our technology, and the evolving industry and competitive landscape, we believe that now is the right time to explore strategic alternatives.'

With the announcement of the Special Committee, Prem Watsa, Chairman and CEO of Fairfax Financial, the largest BlackBerry shareholder, informed the Company that he felt it was appropriate to resign due to potential conflicts that may arise during the process. 

Watsa said: 'I continue to be a strong supporter of the Company, the Board and Management as they move forward during this process, and Fairfax Financial has no current intention of selling its shares.'

Heins, president and chief executive officer of BlackBerry, added: 'We continue to see compelling long term opportunities for BlackBerry 10; we have exceptional technology that customers are embracing, we have a strong balance sheet and we are pleased with the progress that has been made in our transition  As the Special Committee focuses on exploring alternatives, we will be continuing with our strategy of reducing cost, driving efficiency and accelerating the deployment of BES 10, as well as driving adoption of BlackBerry 10 smartphones, launching the multi-platform BBM social messaging service, and pursuing mobile computing opportunities by leveraging the secure and reliable BlackBerry Global Data Network.'

BlackBerry stock has risen 28% over the last 12 months, yet is still down 90% since 2008.

JP Morgan Securities LLC is serving as financial advisor to BlackBerry and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Torys LLP are serving as legal advisors.


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