Crunch time at BlackBerry as sale looms - TechCentral

Crunch time at BlackBerry as sale looms

Thorsten Heins

Thorsten Heins

Struggling smartphone maker BlackBerry has halted trade in its shares in New York and Toronto after announcing on Monday morning that its board is forming a special committee to “explore strategic alternatives”, which could include a sale of the company.

The alternatives must enhance and increase scale in order to accelerate the deployment of the company’s new BlackBerry 10 operating system, the Waterloo, Canada-based company said in a statement.

“These alternatives could include, among others, possible joint ventures, strategic partnerships or alliances, a sale of the company or other possible transactions.”

BlackBerry has struggled to regain market share lost to Apple’s iPhone and to devices running Google’s Android operating system. It began its fight-back earlier this year with the release of the BlackBerry 10-powered Z10 and Q10 smartphones, but sales have been disappointing.

The special committee is comprised of BlackBerry chairman Barbara Stymiest, CEO Thorsten Heins, and directors Richard Lynch and Bert Nordberg. It is chaired by Timothy Dattels.

“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,” says Dattels in a statement.

Heins says: “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 costs, driving efficiency and accelerating the deployment of BES [BlackBerry Enterprise Server] 10, as well as driving adoption of BlackBerry 10 smartphones, launching the multiplatform BBM social messaging service, and pursuing mobile computing opportunities…”

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.

“There can be no assurance that this exploration process will result in any transaction. The company does not currently intend to disclose further developments with respect to this process, unless and until its board of directors approves a specific transaction or otherwise concludes the review of strategic alternatives.”  — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media

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