BlackBerry forms committee to explore strategic alternatives, including sale

BlackBerry is exploring the possibility of joint ventures and strategic alliances among other things, according to an announcement by the company today. According to the statement released by BlackBerry, the strategic alternatives could include joint ventures, strategic partnerships or alliances, a sale of assets or the company itself. The Canadian smartphone maker’s Board of Directors has formed a special committee to explore alternatives in order to enhance value and increase scale, and accelerate BlackBerry 10 deployment.

The revival expected from the company under the leadership of President and CEO Thorsten Heins has not panned out as planned. Despite the launch of BlackBerry 10 OS and three new BlackBerry smartphones, the company has not seen any significant change in its market share. Windows Phone is BB10’s biggest competition in the race for third behind Android and iOS and in relation to Microsoft’s OS, BB10 has been slipping in market share. Heins will be part of the six-man special committee, which will be chaired by Timothy Dattels. Dattels said. “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.

More firings (Image credit: Reuters)

BlackBerry has left the door open for partnerships, alliances and a possible sale of the company (Image credit: Reuters)


Prem Watsa, Chairman and CEO of Fairfax Financial, resigned from the board due to potential conflict of interest. Fairfax is the largest BlackBerry shareholder. Watsa said, “Fairfax Financial has no current intention of selling its shares.

Heins remained steadfast to the belief that BlackBerry 10 has compelling long-term chances in the market. “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.”

Recent times have been very troublesome for BlackBerry as 250 employees were laid off at a product testing facility in Ontario and three VPs announced their departure. There were reports about the company contemplating going private to raise its sagging fortunes in a move that would mimic Dell, the US PC maker. The special committee could also recommend such a move after exploring all possibilities.

Of course, this move is no guarantee that BlackBerry will be sold off to the right suitor, but it still opens the door wide open for anyone looking to acquire. Earlier in the year, there was talk of Lenovo being interested in buying the Canadian company and this announcement could intrigue the Chinese PC giant even more.

Published Date: Aug 12, 2013 20:03 PM | Updated Date: Aug 12, 2013 20:03 PM