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Monday, August 12, 2013
BlackBerry Board Eyes Company Sale


BlackBerry's Board of Directors has formed a Special Committee to explore strategic alternatives to enhance value and increase scale in order to accelerate BlackBerry 10 deployment.

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

The news comes after the company announced that it had shipped 6.8 million smartphones and recorded an $84 million loss during the three months to June 1. Only 2.7 million phones running the new OS were sold, a figure that disappointed analysts. BlackBerry's worldwide smartphone market share was 2.9 percent during the second quarter, compared to 4.9 percent during the same period in 2012, according to IDC.

The committee of the board is comprised of Barbara Stymiest, Thorsten Heins, Richard Lynch and Bert Nordberg, and will be chaired by Timothy Dattels.

Prem Watsa, Chairman and CEO of Fairfax Financial informed the company that he felt it was appropriate to resign due to potential conflicts that may arise during the process. Fairfax Financial is the largest BlackBerry shareholder. Mr. Watsa said, "I continue to be a strong supporter of the Company, the Board and Management as they move forward during this process, and Fairfax Financial has no current intention of selling its shares."

"During the past year, management and the Board have been focused on launching the BlackBerry 10 platform and BES 10, establishing a strong financial position, and evaluating the best approach to delivering long-term value for customers and shareholders," said Timothy Dattels, Chairman of BlackBerry?s Special Committee of the Board. "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."

Thorsten Heins, President and Chief Executive Officer of BlackBerry, added, "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 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."

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.

BlackBerry Z30 makes video debut

In related news, Vietnam-based site S Forum posted a video and images of what the site says is the BlackBerry Z30. The device comes with a 5-inch AMOLED display, according to the site, as well as a dual-core processor, an 8-megapixel camera, and 16GB of storage.


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