BlackBerry Halts Sale Process and Ousts CEO

Posted by at 7:19 am on November 4, 2013

BlackBerry has altered course and is no longer seeking to sell itself. The company today announced that it plans to replace CEO Thorsten Heins, replace several board members, and has secured $1 billion in financing from Fairfax Financial and other investors.

The company was originally awaiting word from Fairfax Financial on a deal that would have seen the smartphone maker sold in its entirety to the private equity firm for $4.7 billion. Fairfax’s deal had a deadline set to expire today. That deal is now off the table, as Fairfax was unable to raise the entire $4.7 billion. Instead, Fairfax is making a major investment in the company and Fairfax CEO Prem Watsa will join BlackBerry’s board. Fairfax is bringing in John S. Chen to serve as Executive Chair of BlackBerry’s Board of Directors and interim CEO while the company searches for a new chief executive. Chen will replace Heins, who will resign once the deal closes.

Heins has been CEO since January 2012, when he replaced former co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie. “Today’s announcement represents a significant vote of confidence in BlackBerry and its future by this group of preeminent, long-term investors,” said Barbara Stymiest, Chair of BlackBerry’s Board. “The Board conducted a thorough review of strategic alternatives and pursued the course of action that it concluded is in the best interests of BlackBerry and its constituents, including its shareholders.

This financing provides an immediate cash injection on terms favorable to BlackBerry, enhancing our substantial cash position. We are implementing the changes necessary to strengthen the company and ensure we remain a strong and innovative partner.”

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