BlackBerry has confirmed it is considering a possible sale of the company. The smartphone maker announced that its board has formed a special committee to evaluate strategic options, and these could include, among others, joint ventures, strategic partnerships or alliances or a sale of the company. The committee is comprised of board members Barbara Stymiest, Thorsten Heins, Richard Lynch and Bert Nordberg, and will be chaired by Timothy Dattels. Telecomepaper reported
Prem Watsa, CEO of Fairfax Financial, also announced he is resigning from the board to avoid any potential conflict of interest during the strategic review. Fairfax is BlackBerry’s largest shareholder, and Watsa said his company continues to be “a strong supporter of the company, the board and management” of BlackBerry. He added that Fairfax Financial has no current plans to sell its shares.
Dattels said the decision to review the company’s options is part of efforts to realise the full value of BlackBerry’s technology and especially the latest version of the smartphone operating system. It also takes account of the “evolving industry and competitive landscape”.
CEO Thorsten Heins said the company continues to have a strong balance sheet and is “pleased with the progress” it has made to date. During the strategy review, it will continue to focus on reducing costs, driving adoption of BlackBerry 10 smartphones, the launch of BlackBerry Messenger for other mobile platforms and leveraging new applications for the BlackBerry Global Data Network.
The announcement follows a recent report from Reuters suggesting that BlackBerry is considering going private. A buy-out, possibly in cooperation with a private equity firm such as Silver Lake, would take some of the public pressure of management while it works on restoring growth at the group. BlackBerry’s market share has yet to recover since the launch at the start of this year of the first devices running BlackBery 10. In the second quarter, it had only around 3 percent of the global smartphone market, according to various market researchers.