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July 10, 2013

BlackBerry CEO Says Licensing Deal, Sale Both Possibilities

BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins managed to placate anxious investors during the company’s annual general meeting Tuesday, saying a licensing deal or even the sale of the company is a possibility.

The news comes in response to an investor’s question during the meeting at BlackBerry headquarters in Waterloo, Ont.

Heins said he is willing to consider any and all options but, BlackBerry’s main focus during the first half of 2013, has been on the launch of its new BlackBerry 10-powered Smartphones: the all-touch Z10 and the traditional Q10.

“This is a long-term transition for the company, but I can assure you that we’re pushing very hard,” Heins said. “BlackBerry will pursue every opportunity to create value for shareholders.”

The BlackBerry Z10 and Q10.

The BlackBerry Z10 and Q10.

Investors were disappointed by the Z10’s and Q10’s ability to  compete with Apple’s iPhone and Android powered devices such as the Samsung Galaxy.

The Canadian company, at the end of last month, posted an $84-million loss in its fiscal first quarter, despite revenue rising nine percent to $3.1 billion.

It is a definite improvement over last year’s first quarter loss of $518 million, but investors and analysts alike were expecting BlackBerry to post a revenue of $3.36 billion.

The company did warn, however, that it would remain in the red in the first quarter. BlackBerry also said although the “highly competitive” Smartphone market makes it difficult to forecast its profitability in the coming quarters, the firm does expect to generate a loss in the second quarter as well.

That said, Heins added that BlackBerry was already enjoying market-share gains in the high-end smartphone market.

“Before you go into any strategic option, I think you have to create value,” Heins said. “And the value of the company 15 months ago was way less than what it is today.”