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August 12, 2013

Blackberry “Exploring Strategic Alternatives” Including Possible Sale of Company

Blackberry’s Board of Directors has put together a special committee to “explore strategic alternatives” on behalf of the company – which includes the option of selling the Smartphone producer.

The committee is also being tasked with reviewing other ideas like joint ventures, strategic partnerships, or alliances, according to a company press release.

Canada’s flagship technology company has long talked about doing something to jump-start sales and, according to the release, are focusing on ways to improve sales of the Blackberry 10, which was unveiled in January. Sales of the Blackberry 10 have been less than the company had hoped for, according to a report by CBC.

It was also announced today that the CEO of Blackberry’s No. 1 shareholder, Prem Watsa of Fairfax Financial has resigned due to “potential conflicts” that may come forth during the committee’s process. Watsa sat on the Board of Directors for a little more than a year.

Some news agencies, including CBC, are speculating that Watsa’s decision to depart from Blackberry suggests the Fairfax may be looking to acquire the company. Watsa said in a statement that Fairfax has “no current intention of selling its shares.”

Other companies that may be interested in purchasing Blackberry include the Canadian Pension Plan and private equity from Silver Lake Partners, claims CBC, adding Blackberry may have had more interest from potential buyers a few years ago when it was on top of its game. There are also rumours that the Waterloo, Ontario company may go private.

Blackberry said it won’t be making any announcements about committee’s progress until the review comes to a close. The committee is comprised of Barbara Stymiest, Thorsten Heins, Richard Lynch and Bert Nordberg, and will be 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,” Dattels said about the committee in a statement.

“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,” commented Blackberry CEO Thorsten Heins.