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< >

BlackBerry receives $1 billion investment from Fairfax Financial and other investors, John S. Chen to be appointed Interim CEO; Prem Watsa Lead Director

Thorsten Heins to step down as BlackBerry CEO at closing 

By Adam Zeis on 4 Nov 2013 08:44 am EST
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BlackBerry has announced today that they have entered into a $1-billion investment agreement with Fairfax Financial and other investors. BlackBerry has concluded their review of strategic alternatives and will also be making changes to the board. John S. Chen will be appointed Executive Chair and Interim CEO while Fairfax CEO Prem Watsa will be appointed Lead Director. Current BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins will step down as CEO at closing.

Press Release

John S. Chen to be Appointed Executive Chair of BlackBerry's Board of Directors and Interim CEO; Prem Watsa to be Appointed Lead Director

Company Concludes Review of Strategic Alternatives and Announces Changes to Board and Leadership Team

WATERLOO, ONTARIO and TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - November 04, 2013) - BlackBerry (NASDAQ: BBRY)(TSX: BB), a world leader in the mobile communications market, today announced that it has entered into an agreement pursuant to which Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited ("Fairfax") and other institutional investors (collectively, the "Purchasers") will invest in BlackBerry through a U.S. $1 billion private placement of convertible debentures. Fairfax has agreed to acquire U.S. $250 million principal amount of the Debentures. The transaction is expected to be completed within the next two weeks.

Under the terms of the transaction, the Purchasers will subscribe for U.S. $1 billion aggregate principal amount of 6% unsecured subordinated convertible debentures (the "Debentures") convertible into common shares of BlackBerry at a price of U.S. $10.00 per common share (the "Transaction"), a 28.7% premium to the closing price of BlackBerry common shares on November 1, 2013. The Debentures have a term of seven years. Based on the number of common shares currently outstanding, if all of the U.S. $1 billion of Debentures were converted, the common shares issued upon conversion would represent approximately 16% of the common shares outstanding after giving effect to the conversion.

Upon the closing of the transaction, John S. Chen will be appointed Executive Chair of BlackBerry's Board of Directors and, in that role, will be responsible for the strategic direction, strategic relationships and organizational goals of BlackBerry. Prem Watsa, Chairman and CEO of Fairfax, will be appointed Lead Director and Chair of the Compensation, Nomination and Governance Committee and Thorsten Heins and David Kerr intend to resign from the Board at closing.

In addition, Mr. Heins will step down as Chief Executive Officer at closing and Mr. Chen will serve as Interim Chief Executive Officer pending completion of a search for a new Chief Executive Officer.

Today's announcement marks the conclusion of the review of strategic alternatives previously announced on August 12, 2013.

"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 BlackBerry 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. Some of the most important customers in the world rely on BlackBerry and we are implementing the changes necessary to strengthen the company and ensure we remain a strong and innovative partner for their needs."

Ms. Stymiest added, "I am also pleased that John Chen, a distinguished and proven leader in the technology industry, has agreed to serve as BlackBerry's Executive Chairman. I look forward to continuing to serve BlackBerry as a member of its Board of Directors and chair of the Board's Audit and Risk Management Committee. On behalf of the Board, I would also like to thank Thorsten for his service to BlackBerry over the past six years. Under his leadership, BlackBerry established a more efficient cost structure, developed new products, saw the adoption of BES 10 and delivered the BlackBerry 10 platform. These are all significant accomplishments. We are grateful for his contributions and wish him well in his future endeavors."

"Fairfax is a long-time supporter, investor and partner to BlackBerry and, with this investment, reinforces its deep commitment to the future success of this company," said Prem Watsa, Chairman and CEO of Fairfax. "I look forward to rejoining the BlackBerry Board and to working with the other directors and management team, under John Chen's leadership, to shape the next stage of BlackBerry's strategy and growth."

"I am pleased to join a company with as much potential as BlackBerry," said Mr. Chen. "BlackBerry is an iconic brand with enormous potential - but it's going to take time, discipline and tough decisions to reclaim our success. I look forward to leading BlackBerry in its turnaround and business model transformation for the benefit of all of its constituencies, including its customers, shareholders and employees."

The closing of the transaction is subject to customary conditions, including approval from the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Pursuant to the Transaction agreement, the investors have an option to purchase up to an additional U.S. $250 million principal amount of Debentures within 30 days following closing. If an additional U.S. $250 million of Debentures is issued and all U.S. $1.25 billion of Debentures were converted, the common shares issued upon conversion would represent approximately 19.2% of the common shares after giving effect to the conversion, based on the number of common shares currently outstanding.

301 comments

Dixie Normas

well that escalated quicky

Posted via CB10

dolco

This means that BB is no private = another (ugly) earning report on december. This is just another part of comedy...

marvini

Yes you are right. Did you expect anything different? Just have patience. BlackBerry will rise but it will take time.

Posted via CB10

ohdihe

Yup I see it now!!!! The RISE of BLACKBERRY

Posted via CB10

birdman_38

Spoken like it's 2012.

seascape

Ha. Well, Thorsten's out. I think a lot of us will see that as good news. About all he succeeded in doing was cutting costs.

What I really want is to see Boulben fired.

justinian2220

Expect revenue to rise with increase in corporate Adoption.

Posted via CB10

qwerty4ever

Penny stock status is only months away. A sad end to an industry pioneer that lost its way in a competitive world.

HKINDO

Thorsten OUTTTTTTT!!!!

#dancing

Posted via CB10

dolco

Agree, this is the good part of message.

birdman_38

"Out" as in forced to quit? Or "out" as in fired?

Puz_zled

Or out as in "I can't do this any more. You need to replace me"

Swiped with one thumb from the virtual keyboard of my awesome Z10!

pipesthyr

Out as in I want my $55 million

Posted via CB10

bbfanboi

A truly selfish act, when he is laying off thousands of people. I too am disgusted, and I had thought that he was the best man for the job. How little did I know!

Puz_zled

No $55 mill.

Swiped with one thumb from the virtual keyboard of my awesome Z10!

pipesthyr

Good. He doesn't deserve it.

Posted via CB10

mikeplus1

No, he will "ONLY" get in the neighborhood of $22M according to latest estimates, not the approximate $55M as reported before.

der_flo

He had to make the ugly decisions, that should be done years ago.

duboisstephane0

Radio-canada french news reported he stepped down.......so not sure.

Posted via CB10

qwerty4ever

That's like politicians who leave office "to spend more time with their family". Not a speck of truth in either statement.

bbfanboi

Love it, love it, love it! 10.2 seriously rocks! Fast, extremely stable, and sexy with lots of nice new features - so much better than 10.1. Those who aren't looking at BB10 phones are surely missing a fabulous treat! BB10 is proving to be the most flexible and powerful!
It's like having a huge playground with all the best toys! Get to work BlackBerry and show us what BB10 can do! And btw, I want geofencing in 10.2.1!!!
It's time to get some positive blood flowing through the company :) Let's get a fresh start!

Rub3n5

This is what p!$$e$ me off the most - the hardware is excellent, the OS is rock solid and it's the best communications device on the market. Yet the marketing sucks, sucks so bad that the brand name remains damaged.

I can't even tell you how many non-BlackBerry users have seen my Z10 and are really impressed. I know I personally have sold phones just by letting people see what this phone can do. Although word of mouth is a means to generating revenue, BlackBerry should be promoting the hell out of their products and they aren't doing it.

For that, I've just lost faith in this company. Thorsten was a rip-off and at least the future of this company lies in a great businessman, Prem Watsa.

Georgefly97

Spot on. This phone is very impressive to people of all os's, but nobody knows about it before of BlackBerry's terrible brand image of legacy, glitchy devices.

Posted via CB10

seascape

Indeed. All the tech press want to talk about is how BlackBerry is damaged goods, its brand name irreversibly tarnished. But then they admit BBM has been a success. What we can see from BBM is that BlackBerry is not destined for death. The company's handset business is in poor shape but it does not have to be. It won't overtake Android and iOS next year, but it could be doing MUCH better.

Bottom line, BlackBerry as a company needs to diversify. They can't be dependent on handsets. BBM was a good step towards diversification. They still need to monetize BBM, but for now they've successfully taken it cross-platform. They also ought to do more with Mobile Fusion. Ramp up offerings for small businesses.

scott.deagan

Couldn't agree more. My best friend went and bought a Z10 for £250 (here in the UK) after seeing my Z10 and Z30. He was originally going to buy a Nexus 5 but his requirements are quite simple (he just wants a phone with email, browser and maps - he doesn't care too much about app eco systems, number of cores etc).

My only gripe (and many disagree with me on this one) is the decision by BlackBerry to sully the core platform with components written with technologies other than the NDK (i.e. Adobe AIR and HTML5). It infuriates me that the browser was written in HTML5 (with Cascades hooks). I'm all for making such technologies first class citizens, but they should not be used for core parts of the platform! Performance will always suffer, no matter what you do. Native will always trump web technologies.

Don't get me wrong - the browser works quite well.... most of the time. BlackBerry need to push this further so that users come to rely on the browser working awesomely smooth and responsive no matter what pages they pull up from the Interwebs (be it in mobile mode or desktop mode). There shouldn't be the need to make up excuses (such as "that's because the page is not optimized" etc...). The only way to achieve this is by going native.

Good user experience relies on two things: responsiveness (ideally aim below 50ms), and smoothness (a consistent 60FPS or greater). While this isn't all that's required for a good user experience, it's the foundation. BlackBerry put everything in place with C++/Qt/Cascades, but then used less performant alternatives in several areas (including the browser), and this makes Baby Jesus cry ;(

Rub3n5

Hang tight and have faith. If I'm not mistaken, the Settings app was completely done with Adobe AIR (and performed poorly). It was rewritten to be native for 10.2 and now performs swimmingly. Maybe something will be done with the browser too?

That said - I do love the fact that I've been able to actually use the browser to pull up almost any Web site. It was so bad on BBOS 7 that I'd always have to wait to get to my computer for browsing.

One big gripe I do have with the browser - I often go through Blaq and pull up Twitter links in the browser. Before reading them, I flip back to Blaq, catch up on my feed, and then flip back to the browser to read the articles in the several tabs that were opened. What drives me nuts is that it seems like the page will load initially when I've clicked on it in Blaq, but minimizing it and coming back to it a few minutes later causes the page to reload, effectively starting from scratch. Very annoying...

scott.deagan

I have plenty of faith, and I'm sticking around for the long game :). BB10 has the potential to turn heads, but the platform is only as strong as the weakest (core) app.

I was very vocal about the Settings app in the BlackBerry forums. It received quite a number of views (and responses). BlackBerry listened, which is why I splashed out on a Z30 instead of a Nexus 5 or iPhone 5S (or whatever else is out there at the moment).

Another area where BlackBerry have taken a shortcut - the "permissions notifications" dialog. This is something very simple, and I can understand the decision maker's thinking behind it: "It's just a permissions dialog, it will be quicker to implement it using Adobe AIR". While you rarely have to scroll a permissions dialog, every now and then you do ("Reddit in Motion" is one such example), and when you do, it cheapens the BB10 experience.

My point it quite simple and straight forward - to make a product the mainstream users want and desire, make everything as smooth and responsive as possible - do not take any shortcuts! Any and every part of the core platform should be native and performing optimally at all times.

Yes, BlackBerry are a little late to the game, but it's not too late to produce something mainstream consumers/prosumers will desire. The foundation is mostly there, BlackBerry just have to use it.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: GO NATIVE OR GO HOME!

Rub3n5

I'm not a developer so I really don't know what I'm talking about, but I thought the same thing about Native or go home. With that said, there must have been a reason they chose AIR.

I'm thinking that Thorsten decided February was the absolute drop dead date to release BB10. They HAD to meet that date. BB10 arrived pretty polished, but there were noticeable bugs and issues. I personally think 10.2 is really the experience they wanted to release in February, but obviously couldn't achieve that.

So with that said, certain features arrived incomplete. If I had to guess, I'd say it's easier to developer in AIR over native and that's why some of the less visible features were not initially native?

scott.deagan

That sounds about right - trying to just get a presence in the market (the "new touch paradigm market") as quickly as possible. C++/Qt developers are also more expensive that WebWorks/HTML5 developers. The fact that the Settings app was re-written does leave a glimmer of hope for the rest of the platform.

Why I focus so much on the browser is because it's one of the most heavily used apps on any smartphone, and it forms a large part of what end-users think of the platform as a whole. The browser is a very important component.

Also, BlackBerry bent over backwards in an attempt to address the "lack of apps" problem that any new mobile platform faces by including Android, Adobe AIR, WebWorks, HTML5 runtimes. If you write a first class browser, then many native apps become "deprecated". That's not to say they're not needed - I still use BeWeather Pro when I could just bookmark one of thousands of weather websites. But having an awesome browser would be a short term fix for new entrants into this Apple/Samsung dominated space. I've paid careful attention to those with, for example, Windows tablets (my friend has an Acer Iconia W3). I slipped this question in: "Don't you miss having a YouTube app?". The answer was: "Nope, because YouTube works really well in the browser".

Nezgar

I wish videos playing in the browser (ie youtube) could be sent to external HDMI or dlna like the videos app. (So you can do other things on the phone - way cool) Only way right now is to save it then use videos app.

wyrdfool

John S Chen kinda impressive. He is the former CEO and chairman of Sybase, which was acquired by SAP in 2010. He was responsible for Sybase’s turnaround, leading the company’s market cap from $362 million to $5.8 billion on 2010.

birdman_38

Not to mention 55 consecutive quarters of profitability.

Dude won't come cheap. I wonder what his compensation will be?

axllebeer

Yeah the crazy news just keeps coming.

dolco

I hope that (weird) letter of intent is not valid anymore.

Puz_zled

I believe that is now in the shredder.

Swiped with one thumb from the virtual keyboard of my awesome Z10!

Kevin Michaluk

Wowza......  need time to digest. 

Anonymous2039

Why can't these things ever happen on a Saturday? I'll be sitting in class, less than a kilometre from where it's all happening...

Q10 and Canadian all the way! Q10SQN100-3/10.2.0.1791

morpho4444

GTFO Heins, take your silly promises with you and don't ever come back!, stop making Kevin a blindfolded fan, he bought the PlayBook fiasco like it was a good thing.

Undbiter65

Wow. Lol

"If you can't soar with the eagles then don't fly with the flock!" (BBM#18)

morpho4444

c'mon, the man can't be perfect we all know that, but the fact that Kevin Michaluk has never stated a single critic to him is just unfair for good blogism, Heins made huge mistakes and none of them are recognized by the blindfolded side of our BB community

BriniaSona

The playbook is such old news, how about the lack of holograms on a 2013 phone!

arvind1983

Old promise is still a promise. THOR KILLED the PlayBook.

Phi Nguyen

You forgetting the lies that thorstein said not related to play book

concern in the z10
"sales beats our expectations"
"50% of our adopters are from other platforms . No not bbos competitors"
"we are selling 2 to 1 over our competitors"
"z10 is priced accordingly to every other flagship product"
"what the analyst said was untrue and I ask the sec and Canadian authorities to look into the private note to their investors about an high return rate"

we all know all this proved untrue and it was thorstein who lied to share holders and customers

TioPepe78

Yes, but seems good, the debentures 7 years gives me the idea that they are thinking long term and are giving a shot to the company or am I wrong?

Posted via CB10

wjptam

Its less risky than buying it outright for 4.7.

They have 7 years to turn it around but in reality this puts Fairfax in a better position if 3 years from now BB declares bankruptcy. They will have recovered 18% of their loan in interest payments and as bond holders have a higher priority claim on money from a liquidation than shareholders.

birdman_38

Plus Prem Watsa is in control as lead director.

qwerty4ever

The outcome seems a little too orchestrated for my critical thinking mind. I doubt Prem Watsa had any intention of buying BlackBerry and taking it private. He wanted to drive down the share price to buy up a large block of voting shares and seized control of the board of directors through the backdoor. The market analysts were distracted by the "take it private" message thus allowing some questionable actions to go unreported.

breakingpoint0

Would love to see a nice long editorial about the whole situation as well what all the talks with the likes of Google, Cisco, etc over the past month may have meant.

Cautiously optimistic things are looking up!

darkehawke

No time for lunch Kevin. Get an article out about potential new CEOs!
Time to go all in for BlackBerry

Posted via CB10

Biggfoot

I agree!!!

Posted via CB10

qwerty4ever

Sorry but if Kevin's posting to this article, "Wowza...... need time to digest," is taken at face value it means he was caught completely by surprise. BlackBerry needs a CEO with vision and the ability to stay up to date in real-time.

bbmtna

You all said that big news would happen, or happens while you are away.

no one had seen this one coming

sgt50

And all the people said hell yes, I nominate Kevin as CEO

birdman_38

He has more job security with Mobile Nations.

Revord

Kevin has my vote. He has more understanding of what consumers want that some of the current leadership.

Posted via CB10

BlackBerryMeansHappiness

I hope the best for BlackBerry. Keep moving.

Posted via CB10

_SyCo_

What does this mean?

Posted via CB10

birdman_38

It means they can still go private in 2014.

melb_me

I'm going to say it means a MASSIVE advertising blitz.

andy957

I'm wondering what it potentially means for the consumer market.

kpbutton

I must say that this is one option that I didn't think about. I hope that this is what BlackBerry needs to do to ensure a righting of the ship.

Peter Lee4

Ummm ok! All the best to Blackberry!

I hope Chen can make the right decisions.

birdman_38

With Prem injecting $1 billion and becoming lead director, expect a much different BlackBerry than what we're used to.

The Z30 is the last consumer handheld we'll ever see out of Waterloo.

BBHermes

"The Z30 is the last consumer handheld we'll ever see from this company."

How do you reach that conclusion? Kindly explain.

birdman_38

When Prem signed his letter of intent, he spoke of how BlackBerry can succeed in enterprise. Made no mention of consumer. Now he has replaced Heins with an executive who brings a rich enterprise history.

Watsa seems to know which side of the bread BlackBerry is buttered on.

andy957

That's what I'd like to know as well.

BB_Ooo

I hope not! Or for goodness sake get another company to use the software with their hardware!

They need to build one super phone, and one qwerty phone, and cheaper variants of that. That's all the hardware they need!

Then just concentrate on the software and BES deployment opportunities!

Also, along with Heins, they need to fire Boulben and the rest of the board! From beginning they should have poached proven executives from the competition!

Prem and Chen, do not fail us!

I do not want an alternative phone!

Posted via Me on my Z

revtech

Well, I can't imagine that they will stick with TH's hand-picked exec's after he's gone; especially Frankie B . .

mrskycar

Well, I want to see what happens next.

tightlybound

$1 billion? Well, that will keep them in business for three more months. But what happens after that?

Loving my Q10

marcosis

I'm not sure how in supposed to feel about this. Hopefully it's all for the best. For BlackBerry and Thor.

Posted via CB10

yasmar

Was not expecting this news today

Daniel Rudolf

Hopefully this extra Billion will last them long enough to turn things around other wise this could get real ugly

Dan-AddictedtoBB

Oh my.. let's hope for the best!

Posted via CB10

antikorr

Just wow! Big news keep coming like an avalanche...

Will keep fingers crossed for BlackBerry!!!!!!

Siya10

You know that's not really good news nor bad news... it's just nothing..

Good news would be if someone would buy BlackBerry as a whole company.

Posted via CB10

antikorr

I didn't say that is good news. Nor I called it bad. I said BIG. And I guess I'm kinda right here.

As for the outcome for BlackBerry. I have no idea what will be the consequences. Not an expert in all this stuff. Waiting for CrackBerry to give their analysis on that.

Puz_zled

By"CrackBerry" surely you mean ChrisUmi?!

Swiped with one thumb from the virtual keyboard of my awesome Z10!

antikorr

Um, duh! Who else?!!!! :)))))))))

Puz_zled

Thumbs up.

Swiped with one thumb from the virtual keyboard of my awesome Z10!

Siya10

So more money to burn! Well done.

Posted via CB10

Amritv

Just hope Blackberry looks more into their pricing strategy now onwards and builds itself back. It can get there, will get there.

TheRealFixxxer

The CEO of Sybase seems to be a good fit for a device that will likely go back to its enterprise roots.

~TheRealFixxxer

CecilTsunami

Wow. That was quick. Thought I'd be waiting half the day to hear.

So, now what? Does this mean the investors see potential, that Fairfax couldn't raise the full amount of capital to outright buy the company or what?

Posted via CB10

Puz_zled

This is the best possible outcome, in my mind, short of having Cisco or IBM's name attached to that cheque. $1.25 Billion in convertible debentures which ultimately turns into 19.6% of the share base if converted, putting a $5B valuation on the company. Suddenly feel much better about today!

Swiped with one thumb from the virtual keyboard of my awesome Z10!

birdman_38

The markets don't share your sentiment. BBRY is down 16% right now.

Puz_zled

I am often wrong. Just ask my wife! When I said "the best possible outcome short of...." I meant it allows BlackBerry to go forward as a whole and perhaps succeed and grow as a whole. Or as they focus on providing enterprise solutions perhaps they will be able to spin out non- core units of value as self sustaining businesses, that remain Canadian, in the medium to long term rather than have them become small parts of other already wealthy tech co's . In that way they can seed midsized tech co's into the Waterloo tech hub and help build the ecosystem their. Read BBM as one.

Swiped with one thumb from the virtual keyboard of my awesome Z10!

ShadowRaine

Clears the way for Lazaridis to assume the mantle of CEO again. Thing is, will the company be taken private now with $1B cash injection?

Posted via CB10

Puz_zled

No privates

Swiped with one thumb from the virtual keyboard of my awesome Z10!

finkmob

I certainly hope Lazaridis will NOT be CEO!

Posted from my 6230

Berry-cracked-up

Wow...didn't see that one coming! Not sure what to think of this.

PaulPaul49

Bye bye Heins you maggot

Posted via CB10

Puz_zled

Could you please stop saying that!? The man saw BlackBerry through the toughest times a CEO could face and had to make an abundance of stinky decisions affecting many people. He took over a dead company with no prospects that anyone outside of this community gave a crap about and he gave it hope and direction and he tried to bring a more disciplined approach. I would say if he fell short, it was strategically, and obviously the golden parachute did not ingratiate him to anybody, but I don't blame a man for negotiating the best possible deal.

Swiped with one thumb from the virtual keyboard of my awesome Z10!

ARWestenberger

Agreed. He did exactly what he was meant to. Bring BB10 to market and cut staff down to workable levels. Now that he is done with that and 10.2 is on its way his job is done. I'm sure he will still be well composted and he should be. This is what he is known for and he did it. No complaints from me. They needed a scapegoat and bad guy and Thor needed a nest egg. Done deal.

BlackBerry 10 United

ARWestenberger

Compinsated not composted. Spelling is wrong either way lol

BlackBerry 10 United

revtech

Well, according to some people here they think he should be composted =) . . and at any rate, its compensated, but I'm sure you knew that ;-)
I agree, people sure are being harsh . . .

BionicKris

TH to the compost bin. ;-)

Posted via CB10

qwerty4ever

Thorsten Heins was a complete failure as chief executive officer. Staff reductions are the act of desperate management not visionary leaders. The real problem at BlackBerry has been management, or more precisely mismanagement. BlackBerry's reputation has been further sullied by Heins' hand-picked management team; not a single one of these morons deserves to collect another cheque from the company. And Prem Watsa negotiating on behalf of Thorsten Heins for his platinum parachute of USD55 million if a new buyer chose to replace him suggests something quite nefarious.

mmmmm127

You could still see a hostile bid. All that's happened today is a 1 billion loan. This is an attempt by BOD and Watsa to stave that off.

BlackBerryRules2006

I hope they know what they are doing! The good.....it won't be ripped apart for parts! the bad....they aren't going private. I was hoping they would, but I'm happy as a shareholder.

Posted via CB10

qwerty4ever

You're right. Microsoft or Apple could offer two billion dollars and have access all those patents for pennies on the dollar plus buy a controlling seat on the BlackBerry Board of Directors.

Bill Mountain

Hope they don't have to pay the new CEO another $50 million 3 months later. If I understand correctly, Heins will pocket almost half of the $1 billion just raised.

Posted via CB10

darkehawke

Isn't half of a billion 500 million? :p

Posted via CB10

Bill Mountain

Oh my poor math!

Posted via CB10

Dixie Normas

source???

Posted via CB10

revtech

He was only owed that if they sold the company, not if he is asked to leave (although I'm sure he'll end up with a healthy severence nonetheless).

BerryWizard

Lolllll you think they will pay the leaving CEO 500 millions ?
Are you insane !?

Posted via CB10

ARWestenberger

50 not 500, either way it's still a lot of cash.

BlackBerry 10 United

Puz_zled

Won't be 50.

Swiped with one thumb from the virtual keyboard of my awesome Z10!

sfor13thlegion

Lord, thunderin....wtf??? not an expert, but something about this sounds extremely promising!!!

Need Umi's take on this asap!!!

Posted via CB10

darkehawke

I see this as a good thing.
Get a strong ceo in!

Posted via CB10

Sinnaz0790

John S. Chen seems to be good at what he does and has a great reputation behind him hope he can turn this baby around make that ship sail 10 x faster in the right direction and make haters etc swallow their words...one word MARKETING...we have an awesome os and eco system we are getting better hardware let's make this baby No.1 again I will keep my faith in BlackBerry!

Posted via CB10

jojo beaconsfield

Prem's billion will ,I am sure,go towards Marketing,and doing it the right way,look out Apple.

Zezel

Let's hear from Chris Umi who will be able to break this down for us in digestible chunks AND read between any lines as it relates to this deal.

Zezel.com - Mobile: Monitor. Manage.

Mrluky

At this point a dark cloud is hovering over blackberry nation, thier next move will the biggest in company history.

revtech

Thats a strangely negative assessment from a guy who calls himself mr.lucky ;-)

myckle

We keep moving!i love BlackBerry!

Posted via CB10

kasedillz

BlackBerry: More exciting than a Mexican soap opera.

Posted via CB10

Ron In Motion

+484847448479988244

Z10STL100-1/10.2.0.1791

Patrick Pierobon

OUt of that 1 billion investment from Fairfax is approximately 60 to 70million going to Heins for early termination?

dosto

I'm a not a finance wizard or corporate strategist, but I was looking forward to Blackberry going private. It seems to be working for Dell. Hopefully, though, this move will get Blackberry back on a growth projection.

revtech

Yup, the way I read this statement TH was brought in to be the hatchet man, the one to cut payroll and generally push everything along; now that the dirty work is done he'll be on his way and someone else can come in and rebuild. Apparently they felt it needed to be done and either didn't think Mike would have to heart to do it or didn't want to make him do it. I can think of a number of companies that have brought in this kind of person before, their skill set is to do the kind of crap nobody else wants to do.

vettsting

I heard the same thing, that TH's history basically is to do the dirty work and shrink the company. It's a good plan, new guy comes in and starts polishing the new strategy. It's not easy what TH had to do, it brought the company's future in jeopardy and now that there is a new chapter he will step down and get well paid. Real question now is if Chen is the answer.

Posted via CB10

revtech

I like what I've read so far about Chen, although I'm no expert on the matter. I'm hopeful and cautiously optimistic. Seems like it might be a good time to buy stock for someone who's particularly adventurous and has it to lose =)

jayemmbee

Ahhh shit just got real

Posted via CB10

Brutal Efficiency

Wow

BlackBerry Bold 9900; Q10; Z10 [BBM#6]

hf199

No one can argue now about how committed Watsa is on BlackBerry. No break up and no liquidation of BlackBerry. We're in for the long haul!

Posted via Harry

LyBerry

I also didn't think about this possibility. I think it's good news that they have someone new in place to change direction of strategy and replace leadership, keeping the company together. The questions are, have the right people been put in place already, and will the right people be put in place for the soon to be vacant positions? The answer to whether or not they can turn things around is definitely yes. It's just a matter of making the right moves at the right times. Let's hope some serious marketing is in the immediate future plans.

Posted via CB10

chadwick777

Wooh. That was fast. Bring on the analysis.

Posted via CB10

toc610

Hmm, me wonders if mr Heins was not a simple 'efficiency analyst' called in to cull the company. Job finished, handshake, bye - bye. 55M smokescreen.

Using Q10

martinjdub

BlackBerry reloaded

Posted via CB10

polytope

How can anyone turn around a company filled with incompetence at all levels?

XDrew42

Eliminate the incompetents. Like Thor. Boulben. Probably some more folks at the top responsible for negligence and delays.

Posted via CB10

Smoke286

How can a company be "filled with incompetence at all levels" produce the best smart phones in the world?

polytope

As a friend of mine said, having the best product in the world 3 years late doesn't help.

Omnitech

Well the good thing about Chen is that he has extensive software experience.

I hope he rebuilds the software side from stem-to-stern. They need to learn how to execute, and to produce quality, bug-free software. And not ignore all the users complaints about poorly-implemented features just because some stupid focus-group told them they thought they should try to dumb everything down like an iPhone.

axe50

Agreed. But my worry is he's not a marketer. While the execution needs to get better, the core problem is pricing of the product, and marketing of it to the masses, and I don't think the former ceo of sybase can help with that.

What is needed is a ceo that has a personality that can lure users to the platform, and do so with confidence. Chen is not that man.

Posted via CB10

scott.deagan

I say to hell with the marketing. Blackberry get so much media coverage now anyway. I agree with Omnitech - concentrate on the quality of the software (start with the browser - re-write it as a native app, instead of the HTML5 app it is today)!! If BlackBerry delivered on the software side, instead of taking shortcuts and using web technologies to write core parts of the platform, then the handsets would sell themselves. Start with the browser - make it so smooth and responsive that the users feel like they're gliding on ice and don't want to put their BB10 handsets down (instead of feeling like: "Yeah, it works, I've done what I need to do, that is all").

Rickster1

Well, this helps quite a bit! Will stabilize things, allow the downsizing to continue (I estimate payrol will drop substantially saving 10's of millions every month, over a hundred million every quarter. Buys time, which is what BB needs. Some traction with the Z30 shows they can be in the handset business. They need to get licensing agreements going for others to manufacture handsets with BB10 on them and get out of the handset business!! They will transition to a software business, look at monetizing BBM once they have video and voice implemented across all platforms. Get a software interface that works on iOS and Windows (linux as well maybe) and start to leverage software via this interface. Enterprise needs to be stabilized and aggressively sold to. Use unsold inventory to leverage enterprise sales. If enterprise customers are still on OS7, BB10 is a huge upgrade of software and hardware. This is a good move and one that could quite have easily come from the Cdn Government if they had any vision!! Next moves, buy Sierra Wireless and start moving into M2M in a big way as well. Look at Wi-lan takeover as well. Consolidate these Cdn. Tech companies and move forward!! No sure thing but at least it stabilizes the ship and away we go into a sea of uncertainty!!

markmall

Why race to get out of the handset business? Apple shows that there is a little cash to be made in making functional devices along with the software. BB is in the perfect position to do the same -- if they hire someone that knows how to market.

Z30Man

YEAH!!! Long live BB!!

Posted via my BlackBerry Z30.

Khashayar24

Finally I think changing Torsten Heins is only the right decision if Mr.Chen is more marketing oriented.
I suppose the money injection to be the MARKETING money needed so deseperately.
The positive aspect is how fast the decision was made and announced. That shows that there is a certain strategy behind the scenes which we are going to see latest in the next quarter.

Let's hope its going to the right direction from now on.

ganjaman420

Thorstein Won the lottery!!!!

qwerty4ever

And he saved himself the five dollars to buy a Lotto Max ticket. :devil:

jafrul

Good riddance Heins and Boulben.
Enjoy your next job.

lifeinbmajor

Never saw this option - guess this is why we are ALL Armchair Analysts #KeepMoving

Posted via Z10, via CB10, via my fingers

breakingpoint0

Looking at John S. Chen, seems like he will be a good fit to help the company. Sounds like things are starting to look up!

Cautiously optimistic!

Leo Tj

Thx for all your work TH. Welcome John S Chen... we are waiting the next chapter next development from our beloved BlackBerry.

Wish all the best For BlackBerry

Love from Indonesia

Posted via CB10

marko868

More confusion in Blackberry... the writings on the wall.

OutWithEric

Wow..

Keep moving with Solavei

coldfir3

This one will go down in the history books. Whatever happens to blackberry from here will be interesting to see.

psparks

Great marketing! I suspect whatever happened at Sybase,will eventually happen at BlackBerry.

Posted via BlackBerry Z10 Channel C00106B82

8820man

The news keeps a rolling... Hang in there cb nation...

XDrew42

I'm smiling so big right now. I rely on BlackBerry too! So much goodness on the horizon.

Posted via CB10

Skeevecr

I notice a few people mentioning a stupidly big payout for Heins, but wasn't that previously mentioned in the context of the company being taken over which hasn't happened so his payout in this case may only be big rather than stupidly big.

revtech

Yeah, I keep saying this but nobody is paying attention, most people are too busy spouting off without thinking . . .

The_Scribe

Instead of $55 million for selling and leaving, he is looking at collecting $22 million for just leaving. Tough work but someone has to do it! (Where do I apply!)

niceup

In my opinion BlackBerry can still go private. This just gives Fairfax time to raise the extra $4B to complete the deal.

Good news, but not great.

Posted via CB10

H_O_Boomaye

This is the first thing I thought... they are putting the company on Lay A Way

vettsting

Ok... a major investment. this is just an indirect way of having control of blackberry. Having major decision making power within the company can still give Fairfax what they wanted to do with the company when the initially decided to buy the company. I agree, TH should step down but is this the right step? And not sure if they can still go private in the future.

Posted via CB10

mrskycar

Company has desire to keep going. I'm onboard, I got the upside still.

NJ1193

Am I the only person that sees this like when Microsoft loaned Apple $150M in 97? In a few years, the media may be championing BBRY instead of Apple. Just a thought. #BB4Life

Posted via CB10

niceup

Interesting take.

Let's see you this works out.

Posted via CB10

psparks

One thing is for sure, in my opinion, with the addition of John Chen and the capital injection, BlackBerry isn't going anywhere!

Posted via BlackBerry Z10 Channel C00106B82

revtech

. . "Isn't going anywhere" could be taken two completely different ways, just saying ;-)

tonyrenier

Boy I'm glad I sold at 10.50 and only lost 3.00 per share, I'm beginning to think this has always been about Thor.

freddysrevng3

Prem told us that he would be able to get the financing together a couple of times.

What happened?

Is the mighty "Warren Buffet of Canada" just another delusional Canuck?

Another embarrassing and sad day for Canadian technology companies.

Canada should be ashamed.

Posted via CB10

revtech

Would also love to see Frankie B disappear in the same puff of smoke as in the super bowl commercial he masterminded

black.rhino

I didn't think Heins was the main problem. Can we get an article on the interim CEO?

Posted by Z10

Omnitech

Neither did I think he was the main problem.

People that don't know much focus on the CEO because it's the only singular individual they know about and they are looking for blood. Pretty dumb, really.

Under the very dire circumstances that Heins took the reins, I don't think he did as badly as lots of people seem to think. Was he perfect? No. Neither do I think he was the devil incarnate. The main reason people didn't see BlackBerry advertising is because they have a tiny fraction of the resources someone like Apple has to throw into advertising, and Heins did a great job of conserving cash. Without which, there wouldn't be much of a company left to "revive" at this point.

vettsting

Apple's marketing is horrible too... I mean all they have done was put up posters, fancy up their stores and put up a stupid commercial with some graphics showing the SAME Phone. Looks like they are too comfortable with their phone marketing itself.

Posted via CB10

toc610

What ever monies you get dear BB, SPEND IT ON MARKETING. Thanks.

Using Q10

trsbbs

Looks like John Chen a is a good catch for BlackBerry. History of rebuilding struggling companies, also in with Disney and Wells Fargo.

Thor, have a nice ride home. Nice guy, good with numbers but lacked vision. At least he wasn't a snob.

But I feel there is something not being said. We shall see.

Posted via CB10 on a Verizon Z10 running 10.2.0.1791

UZA_Dave

Maybe now I can get a native Disney app instead of having to sideload.

DecAway

They need to give Thor a giant moving truck full of playbooks as a severance package.

Posted via CB10

NJ1193

LOL! Yes.

Posted via CB10

jojo beaconsfield

I'd give him a padded cell.

birdman_38

BlackBerry will fly him back to Germany in their newest $25 million private jet.

freddysrevng3

Thor and, hopefully, Stymiest "out".

But why should Prem inspire any confidence.

He said he had the financing.

Posted via CB10

mcstravi

Interesting background for Chen...from Wiki
"Chen developed and led Sybase’s re-invention strategy to evolve what had become a mature slower growth technology company into a $1B+ high-growth innovator. First, Mr. Chen returned Sybase to profitability and improved its balance sheet. He then defined and implemented Sybase’s “Unwired Enterprise” strategy to reposition the company, leveraging its database knowledge to create new offerings that addressed the emerging markets for analytics and mobility.[1]

Under Chen’s leadership, Sybase achieved strong financial performance and shareholder returns, including 55 consecutive quarters of profitability, $2.8 billion of cash generated, and a 28 percent compound annual growth rate of its market capitalization from a low of $362 million to $5.8 billion in 2010, when it was acquired by SAP AG.[3]"

Seems like the man we need!

psparks

Absolutely! Writing is on the wall. They have big plans for BlackBerry

Posted via BlackBerry Z10 Channel C00106B82

ceraf

Heins...hopefully there are no other Keins.

Posted via CB10

Novaone

DAMNNNNNNNNNNNNNN !

haha

inteller

LOL, just when you thought this couldn't get any more ridiculous.

Also....the super spin on this blog title is only outmatched by BBRYs bipolar self destructive actions. You completely avoided the real news...they aren't selling and are pulling a Canadian version of seppuku.

Farking idiots blinded by a big cash horde they think they can live on forever.....that cash will be GONE by Q2 14...

jimpilot

Move on, no room for Trolls today

abdullah1982

Wikipedia updated real fast and now shows mr chen involvement with BlackBerry

Posted via CB10

kojita

Can't wait to read @cumiatowski

shupor

Chen is not a bad choice for CEO. He has a pretty glowing record and hopefully, he has what it takes to turn this company around http://www.forbes.com/profile/john-chen-1/

ranzabar

Kaboom! Payday!

Thanks,

Love, Thor.

Posted via my BlackBerry Z10

bambinoitaliano

There's got to be an aggressive short term strategy for this to work. Can't afford to burn through their cash reserves. More lay off will only help cut operating cost. Need to generate more revenues. Not a bad idea to get Z10 10.2 into the hands of mass consumers with major price cut. Not familiar with Chen background. For Prem as an investor To go in for a billion let's hope he has a strategy with a huge interest not only for blackberry but also for Fairfax.

rally5464

I need a smoke to digest all of this...

pagozahd

like T.H would say (clap clap clap, wonderful impressive, outstanding clap clap clap, everything with just one finger, clap clap clap)

wuulfy

Instagram and Netflix tomorrow? ;)

Posted via CB10

ibpluto

My only thought now is, this indicates what would appear to be long term commitment by not only Fairfax (Prem), but other investors. There must be something in the evaluation that we are not aware of that makes these people comfortable enough to dump a fair chunk of change into BBRY. Clear the business case is stronger than it appears currently.

peter9477

Adam, I don't think it's correct to say "at closing today" for things like Stymiest stepping down. The closing referred to is the closing of the transaction, which is two weeks from now.

bennyph

Have we had a farewell party for TH?

Posted via CB10

toc610

“I am pleased to join a company with as much potential as BlackBerry,” said Mr. Chen. “BlackBerry is an iconic brand with enormous potential – but it’s going to take time, discipline and tough decisions to reclaim our success. I look forward to leading BlackBerry in its turnaround and business model transformation for the benefit of all of its constituencies, including its customers, shareholders and employees.”

Using Q10

Darlaten

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised given how fickle Blackberry fans can be, but when Thorsten was first announced, many of you treated him like the second coming of Jesus. And when he called Kevin, this was all but seen as a sign from above that Blackberry would wipe out all competition. He was praised and glorified as being exactly what the company needed. And now, your all but ready to crucify him.

Btw, has anyone actual met someone who said, "I'm not buying a BB10 phone because Thorsten is CEO".

birdman_38

Nobody predicted he would have supreme neglect for BlackBerry 10 to the point of ex BlackBerry employees now collecting unemployment cheques. Get off your high horse.

Darlaten

Its not about being on a high horse; it's about pointing the blatant hypocrisy of many people regarding what this CEO has achieved. Prior to his appointment, there were serious questions as to whether Blackberry 10 would even see the light of day given the disaster that was (and is) Blackberry. Thorsten was successful in bringing BB10 to launch. And well he certainly is ultimately responsible for the actions, or lack thereof, in terms of the companies performance, you can not ignore that he was responsible for some successes as well.

birdman_38

Certainly he was. But the enormous level of failure due to his inability to grow sales overshadows any said successes. That will be his legacy. Nobody remembers the runner-up, only the champion. He didn't champion the cause for BlackBerry 10 in 2013.

milo53

Good point! The BOD is ultimate boss.

Light_31

That billion is money for the devs! people want apps and hardware that is the only saviour.. I expect BlackBerry to go full throttle for the masses .. Thors tried to veto that strategy and so he got bought. Probably the same cut he was going to get if BlackBerry sold itself.. Go team BlackBerry go!!

They Type... I Flick (get it).

Poirots Progeny

Wow - TH getting the boot...

All this business with the 1 Billion float - so no one wanted BlackBerry and they got a loaner...

I just feel this is another bandage.

They need proactive action to stem the bleeding. That money needs to go on getting a decent advertising and media exec. The way they're burning money; this is a place holder loan.

They have time but what are they actually going to do to change their fortunes. Their consumer products are great (I paid full off contract prices - over £1500 for the Z & Q10 and the Z30!!) but I and others: we're the minority. People don't care, the perception BlackBerry carries - that of the dead walking - this slide is damaging BlackBerry to the point of breaking.

They have been given some more breathing room. What are they going to do... advertise and engage the media and cut prices! that might be a good start.

Hope the is the beginning of the end of the downturn.

Posted via CB10

Rick Zimmerman

Good luck to Blackberry! I just upgraded my Z10 to a Z30 - both beautiful pieces of technology, but if I hear that China, or any company even remotely connected to China, have any connection to it in the future I'll change to an iPhone in a second!

TommyBB

They fired the wrong guy. Boulben should have been handed his hat months ago. Thor would probably still have a job today. I don't know how Boulben still has a job...

The BB10 U.S. marketing campaign will be remembered as one of the worst tech campaign efforts in history.

birdman_38

Hopefully that'll change with this new leadership. Boulben has some serious ass kissing to do if he wants to keep his job.

revtech

I don't think he could kiss enough of them to atone for what he has done, or should I say *hasn't* done . . unless its revealed that TH somehow handcuffed him, whuch I doubt. I'm more chaffed at Frank than I am with TH, Thor did what he neede to do and now its time for him to hand it over, but I don't know wth Frank did.

milo53

Boulben is not far behind.

Adam Fox2

heh...wouldn't it be interesting (and very highly unlikely) if FairFax took over BB and they fixed some things like the lies the company told....like BB10 on the PlayBook? I know its a shot in the dark, but hey, sometimes you get your target :)

adonesc

Ding dong, the witch is dead!

Just clean out the dead carcasses, leave Thorsten Heins Ketchup in his underground bunker with his $55.4 million dollars...get your heads of your arses and let's get this show on the road!

This is an opportunity to start anew, or about as close as a company like BlackBerry can get!

We all know what the problems and issues are, we know what BlackBerry can and cannot do...so no more foot dragging, no more bullshit! Uncluster the clusterfuck that been this company's lead-in for the past year...DO IT RIGHT THIS TIME!

Good luck!

Winter Is Coming

CharlieV#AC

I'm not sure this was a positive move. Thor inherited the operating system and had to make hardware to fit the operating system (while also refacing it for new market tastes). The blackberry hardware and software were fairly universally liked by reviewers, but not the public. BlackBerry is forced to exit the consumer market in the United states (and the business market will soon follow with byod in full effect). BBM is the crown jewel, but I personally think that while it is an extremely worthy app on Android and iPhone, it has very stout competition and no stand out features. I see the handset market going from USA centric to world centric with a black hole in the USA. The world will follow. As for the rest of blackberry business, should we assume that Chen will do the same as at sybase? I suppose, but they are very different companies.

I think blackberry has one play: build on its success as a secure platform and service to the nth degree. Implement unbeatable encryption at every level and tout itself as the anti NSA company. Pick a fight with the US government and petulanty walk away. BlackBerry will then have cult hero status and a niche that will take over.

Rickster1

I think this solidifies the move to Enterprise. Chen is experienced with business software, not consumer. Don't be surprised to see the "official" exit from the handset business. It makes no sense for BB to manufacture and sell handsets, too expensive!! They will probably stagger on with the Z30 but beyond that don't expect to have a handset badged BB unless they get someone else to make it. The moves being made now, downsizing etc. position BB as a much smaller company and no competitor to the big boys let alone the Good's of the world. License BB10, get others to manufacture and sell handsets, focus on seeding the enterprise business. They need cash flow for gods sakes!! BBM will keep going as they try to monetize it but if they can't figure that out, it will probably be sold off. Hey! We don't know who the partners in this financing are. It could be Qualacomm or Cisco. They could be positioning themselves to buy a certain portion of the patents or other business in the event this cash injection doesn't work. Funny to see the talking heads on BNN talk about cash burn. BB should be downsized significantly in about 6 more weeks or less! Savings of hundreds of millions annually! Leaner and hopefully meaner!! But hardly any more consumer friendly!!

SparkyBC

Adios thorstein the most useless CEO blackberry has ever had.

Omnitech

Actually the "Co-CEOs" were the worst CEOs - because if it weren't for them, Heins wouldn't have inherited the stinking pile that he inherited.

yessuz

that's bad.

no buyer was interested...

and where's that 2.5 BN of cash, if they need 1 BN funds to be raised?!

Spencerdl

While dancing around my office, arms in the air......could it be?.....SMILE

Outrunner

"I am pleased to join a company with as much potential as BlackBerry," said Mr. Chen. "BlackBerry is an iconic brand with enormous potential - but it's going to take time, discipline and tough decisions to reclaim our success. I look forward to leading BlackBerry in its turnaround and business model transformation for the benefit of all of its constituencies, including its customers, shareholders and employees."

Very similar to Thorsten's strategy, no? Time, discipline, and tough decisions.

Posted via CB10

polytope

That's what every CEO would say when s/he takes leadership of a sinking boat.

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