BlackBerry-corp at sale??

Is BlackBerry at Sale?

BlackBerry to explore strategic alternatives including sale of company

BlackBerry to explore strategic alternatives including sale of company


 Canadian smartphone maker BlackBerry has set up a committee to explore strategic alternatives, including joint ventures, partnerships or a sale of the company, Blackberry said on Monday.

Former Goldman Sachs executive Timothy Dattels, a BlackBerry board member, will chair the new committee, which will also include Blackberry Chief Executive Thorsten Heins.

"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," Dattels said in a statement.

BlackBerry pioneered on-your-hip email with its first smart phones and email pagers. But it has struggled to compete against the likes of Apple Inc and against phones using Google Inc's Android operating system. Its new BlackBerry 10 Smartphone have failed to gain traction in a competitive market.

Reuters last week quoted sources familiar with the situation as saying BlackBerry was warming up to the possibility of going private. The sources said Heins and the company's board were increasingly coming around to the idea that taking BlackBerry private would give them breathing room to fix the company's problems out of the public eye.

Dattels is a senior partner at private equity firm TPG Capital and a former top investment banker at Goldman Sachs. His appointment to BlackBerry's board last year sparked a flurry of speculation that the company might consider a leveraged buyout or going private. 

Dattels' nomination to the board came in June 2012, shortly after BlackBerry hired JPMorgan and RBC Capital Markets to help it evaluate strategies, including a possible overhaul of its business model, as well as other moves, such as expanding the BlackBerry platform through partnerships and licensing deals. 

Fairfax Financial Chairman and Chief Executive Prem Watsa said on Monday that he would resign from the BlackBerry board due to potential conflicts of interest. Watsa said Fairfax has "no current intention" of selling its Blackberry shares.

Here’s the Press Release that details the committee that’s looking to explore BB’s options.

Leo Koleon

Technology Reporter

BlackBerry Ltd intraday chart 

Blackberry's problem isn't that its new smartphones are no good, but rather that it took so long to get them to market.

When the firm announced it was buying QNX Software Systems back in April 2010, it made clear that the purchase was designed to help it update its operating system.

By that point, Apple's iOS and Google's Android had already started to eat into its market share, but the Canadians still accounted for about one in five smartphones shipped.

However, repeated delays meant it wasn't able to start selling BB10 handsets until the end of January this year. Although reviews praised the OS for its unified messaging hub and virtual keyboard, neither were seen as "killer features", and perhaps more crucially, its app marketplace is less well-stocked.
The result is that Blackberry is able to offer devices that make appealing upgrades to its loyal followers, but consumers and firms who have already switched platforms and other purchasers might see little reason to pick the 'berry.

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