No BlackBerry buyout: instead company gets new CEO, $1B investment
BlackBerry has not been in the best shape lately, and the past couple months have been dominated not by stories of the new Z30 launching, but of efforts to sell-off the company to investors. By late September, we got word of the first real-sounding deal, with an offer by Fairfax Financial to acquire the company for $4.7 billion. Even with the plan on the table, we kept hearing about the possibilities of alternate offers from other interested parties, including a group led by co-founder Mike Lazaridis – one way or another, it sounded like a deal was happening. That’s what makes this week’s news so surprising; this morning we get word that BlackBerry’s moving forward in a very different direction, and won’t be selling itself off at all.
That Fairfax deal? Not happening. Instead of buying BlackBerry for $4.7B, the company will instead make a smaller investment, buying up $250M of BlackBerry’s debt. It’s also tasked with securing $750M in similar investments from other parties, bringing in a total of $1B for BlackBerry.
We also learn that Thorsten Heins (above) is leaving the CEO seat, being replaced by John Chen, formerly of Sybase. Heins took the reins at BlackBerry in January of last year, and oversaw the release of BlackBerry 10. Chen will serve as interim CEO as the company works to make long-term leadership decisions.
While this is not the outcome it sounded like this story might have, it promises to give BlackBerry another chance in the smartphone game. Will new leadership bring it back from the brink, or will the company continue to see the market move on without it?
Source: RCR Wireless