BlackBerry Weighing Up its Options for Possible Sale

by Istvan Fekete on August 13, 2013

After struggling to survive in the mobile marketplace, Canada’s BlackBerry has finally decided to face the ugly truth: it needs to explore its strategic alternatives, and that even includes a possible sale.

Today, the company has halted trading of its shares and formed a committee chaired by Timothy Dattels, which includes CEO Thorsten Heins, Barbara Stymiest, Richard Lynch, and Bert Nordberg. These people are in charge of looking for alternatives for the struggling company that used to be a market leader.

“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.”

Fact is, 2013 wasn’t the year of the freshly rebranded BlackBerry: after a highly anticipated launch of the BB10 platforms and BB10 smartphones, the company struggled to regain its lost customer base, but failed. The touchscreen smartphone they launched lacked the much-needed buzz factor, as the sales numbers highlight: 2.7 million BB10 handsets sold by June 1, 2013.

Investors have reacted immediately: BlackBerry’s shares dropped nearly 30% immediately after the company reported its last quarter earnings.

There were obvious signs that BlackBerry could not compete with the market leaders, Android and iOS: every market research report pointed to BlackBerry market share drops, while the aforementioned two were growing. The company remains optimistic though:
“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,” said Thorsten Heins, President and Chief Executive Officer of BlackBerry.

So the question remains: what path will the committee choose for the company? There is no guarantee that a transaction will happen, although Samsung could be a possible bidder, as rumoured earlier.

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Written by: Istvan Fekete. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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