Canadian Manufacturing

Struggling BlackBerry exploring partnerships, potential sale

Will explore possible sale, joint venture, strategic partnerships, alliances, "other transactions"



WATERLOO, Ont.—Struggling device maker BlackBerry announced it is exploring “strategic alternatives,” including a possible sale of the company.

The embattled Waterloo, Ont., firm, which posted a surprising $76-million operating loss last quarter, said its board of directors has formed a special committee to explore options “to enhance value and increase scale in order to accelerate” the use of its newest lineup of devices running the make-or-break BlackBerry 10 operating system.

Some of those options include possible joint ventures, strategic partnerships or alliances, a sale of the company “or other possible transactions.”

The decision comes amid a declining market share in recent months—data shows BlackBerry’s share of the mobile device market dropped to 2.9 per cent in in the second quarter—as the company’s rebranding and new product launches have come up short of expectations.

“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,” special committee chairman Timothy Dattels said in a statement.

Committee members include Dattels, Barbara Stymiest, Richard Lynch, Bert Norberg and company CEO Thorsten Heins.

“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,” Heins said.

“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 (BlackBerry Enterprise Service) 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.”

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.

The company said “there can be no assurance that this exploration process will result in any transaction,” and it doesn’t intend to disclose development unless a deal is approved.

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