BlackBerry special committee to explore possible joint ventures, partnerships or even sale of company

By Adam Zeis on 12 Aug 2013 08:05 am EDT
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BlackBerry has announced today that the board of directors has formed a special committee to "explore strategic alternatives to enhance value and increase scale in order to accelerate BlackBerry 10 deployment". The plan for the committee is to explore possible ventures for BlackBerry and BlackBerry 10 including possible joint ventures, partnerships or even a sale of the company.

The committee is comprised of Barbara Stymiest, Thorsten Heins, Richard Lynch and Bert Nordberg, and will be chaired by Timothy Dattels.

BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins added that:

"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."

While the committee will look into these various options, there is no guarantee anything will come of it. Check out the full press release for more and read Chris' initial thoughts here

Press Release

WATERLOO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - August 12, 2013) - BlackBerry Limited (NASDAQ: BBRY)(TSX: BB), a world leader in the mobile communications market, today announced that the Company's Board of Directors has formed a Special Committee to explore strategic alternatives to enhance value and increase scale in order to accelerate BlackBerry 10 deployment. These alternatives could include, among others, possible joint ventures, strategic partnerships or alliances, a sale of the Company or other possible transactions.

The Special Committee of the Board is comprised of Barbara Stymiest, Thorsten Heins, Richard Lynch and Bert Nordberg, and will be chaired by Timothy Dattels.

With the announcement of the Special Committee, Prem Watsa, Chairman and CEO of Fairfax Financial informed the Company that he felt it was appropriate to resign due to potential conflicts that may arise during the process. Fairfax Financial is the largest BlackBerry shareholder. Mr. Watsa said, "I continue to be a strong supporter of the Company, the Board and Management as they move forward during this process, and Fairfax Financial has no current intention of selling its shares."

"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."

Thorsten Heins, President and Chief Executive Officer of BlackBerry, added, "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."

JP Morgan Securities LLC is serving as financial advisor to BlackBerry and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Torys LLP are serving as legal advisors.

There can be no assurance that this exploration process will result in any transaction. The Company does not currently intend to disclose further developments with respect to this process, unless and until its Board of Directors approves a specific transaction or otherwise concludes the review of strategic alternatives.

 

Reader comments

BlackBerry special committee to explore possible joint ventures, partnerships or even sale of company

313 Comments

I wonder what the cheerleader squad has to say about all this. It's time to move to other platforms, this is the simple take on this news.

Posted via CB10 from BB Z10

It is only time to move when there is no platform to hold to.

I hope this was cheerleading enough for you, although I just see it as fact.

I'll be watching your posts here on out - or lack of posts when you've moved onto another platform and BB10 continues to loose marketshare.

Always look to what works best for you, hanging onto a sinking ship can get VERY rough: Warranty Support begins to fade, support for existing OS, lack of presence for existing products, etc.

I totally agree... to Hell if u will be forced to use LagDroid w no physical keyboard options. I can live wout pandora on my cell fone I have my favorite tracks on there already as well as ipod touch 5 for music and apps as far as getting REAL Work done. BlackBerry is where ill stay.

You know the rabid BlackBerry cheerleaders will spin this as a positive avenue. Thorsten betrayed the many employees of Research In Motion and the millions of BlackBerry devices users around the world. Now we know why Heins strung everyone along with a succession of doublespeak, statistics, and damn lies.

"You know the rabid BlackBerry cheerleaders will spin this as a positive avenue. Thorsten betrayed the many employees of Research In Motion and the millions of BlackBerry devices users around the world. Now we know why Heins strung everyone along with a succession of doublespeak, statistics, and damn lies."

I am always amazed that the BB community find faults on other companies then condone the executives of this company that have lied for years and years..no one will buy a company where there is a lying culture.

My White Q10 on Verizon running 10.2.1047 works perfectly fine. No matter who owns the company QNX has got awesome potential. I use All of google apps and services therefore ive always tried to switch to android but I cant android no matter how Big the CPU and how much Ram the OS is just clunky..

They have BEEN exploring all the options...

Problem is the same as the new products... they taught that they (the company) were worth more than anyone was willing to pay. Now that the launch has failed, they might be willing to negotiate more aggressively with any perspective "partners" or buyers.

The problem is they have pretty much shown their hand now... Palm/HP showed that the OS really doesn't mean much, and now BlackBerry has reinforced that. And it pretty much a given that Samsung owns the "hardware" end of the business and no one is really competing well against them on hardware along.

I know that BlackBerry said they have a plan and that it will take time. But without so really positive numbers in sales I don't see developers or "partners" wanting to invest in the platform.

Only 1 option to explore. It's easy and it will work.

Throw millions of dollars at a select few developers to bring exclusive games/apps to BB10. GTA3 for PS3 and Halo for XBOX are prime examples of exclusive games that sold consoles. Lotus 1-2-3 helped sell IBM PC's. It will work on phones too. Just ensure the cash you spend keeps it exclusive for a while. That will sell phones.

Posted via CB10

they already tried this and the developers still said no. Plus games like gta cost millions of dollars for developer to create.

this can work especially with productivity app as well you need the work force to come back strong, especially here in the US.

This isn't a bad idea, the problem is in the execution. It'll just take to long. They should have done this three years ago. Hell they should have purchased a good company instead of the array of small ones like Jay Cut so we get story maker... who cares!

Like why? you don't need to waste money on developers and beg to them.....just spend half of those millions efficiently and effectively on proper marketing, tell the features of the pone to the public, it does lot more then just correct ur closed eye or capture proper smile. it is the tool you need to balance your work and productivity, all in one package.

Then those developers who are saying NO to BBRY right now will come begging to BBRY to allow their apps on bb world. just show them that your user base is increasing, no need to feed them money. BB10 has all the essential apps, tools needed to function properly as a daily device. I don't feel the need to pick up my iphone or android device after I got z10. Enough with the "no apps" bubble, how many non bb/crackberry users know bb10 has Skype? hardly any, bcoz of no marketing.

What will happen if you get over a million apps on bb world? what app is lacking on other platforms that they will ditch their iphone/android n switch to bb? They wont switch for higher number of apps, but they might for the overall package, and that can only happen after proper marketing!!

YES!

Proper and effective Marketing is THE ONLY answer; if it works it will also be the Solution!

And, right again: if YOU build it (the sales), "they" (developers) WILL come.

Just my 2 cents from a penny-less country.
Cheers & Keep Moving!

I supported them when no one else did, I bought their devices and stock, what else is there to do, they need to do for themselves first!

This would be throwing good money after bad. The writing on the wall is pretty clear, BBRY is going the way of palm.

Posted via CB10 from BB Z10

Unfortunately buying the company would not be enough as you assume all responsibilities and debts: marketing, warranty obligations with carriers, cost of operating business ... these are all quite profound and would cost closer to the tune to $10 Billion just to be on the "SAFE" side of things.

SAFE = more interested investment partners/vendors/etc. Government loan or stay of foreign purchasing/ownership/change of business operations/model/support. etc.

If every mobile nations member could just kick me $1 I could make some great things happen too!

Kevin, if I had CAD5 billion to buy BlackBerry in its entirety the first thing I would do is fire Thorsten Heins and give you a six month employment contract as the new chief executive officer. All management would be summarily terminated with lead parachutes and a helping push out off the CN Tower. Are you up to the challenge?

Armchair CEO alert. Kevin obviously has a lot of useful skills and is a successful businessperson, but I'm sure he would be the first to agree that running an R&D/manufacturing company that is largely B2B is a very different matter from running a media company with some end user sales.
And how do you know all management is incompetent? A friend of my father's, who was a very successful management consultant, used to say that in most companies 30% of the workforce did 70% of the work. His solution was to identify the 30%, increase their pay and responsibility, and get them to identify the people who needed sacking, and recruit replacements.
He did this for one company whose owners did everything except pay the workers more. Guess what? They left and started their own competing company. Big oops.
I am sure from the reports that TH has been doing an exercise like this, but it takes time they may not have. You cannot simply fire, say, a sales director who will immediately be bad mouthing you to all his contacts and probably working for the competition spilling the beans on everybody in his former organisation.
But yes, carry on being an armchair CEO. Those of us who have actually had to do the job get a bit of amusement from laughing at you.

Kevin, you're joking right? I supported Blackberry with my hard earned dollars buying a Playbook as did millions of others buying the BB10 handsets. If anything Blackberry should be offering to buy back our Playbooks and BB10 handsets after getting some sort of federal bailout from the government.

REALLY? ... I mean: "ARE you kidding?"
In what parallel universe would BlackBerry be obligated - whether legally or morally - to "buy back' all the Playbooks it ever sold? Especially stuff that's now WELL over 2 years old!

Is there some sort of cannabis cloud wafting around that I don't know about ... ??

I mean, I "get" that many Playbook buyers - of which I too am one!!! - feel 'abandoned,' even 'betrayed' but the ONLY thing "the company" (ie. Herr Heins) is culpable for here is shooting its mouth off prematurely by "mentioning" (possibly "promising") a proper BB10 upgrade before Tech confimed that it would work or Tech+Accounting that it would be $$-feasible.
NOWHERE in ANY User Agreement or Warranty (etc.) does it say ANYTHING about the company being obligated to provide ongoing updates, upgrades and maintenance, especially after the first year of use.

Now, last time I checked, "my" Playbook still works well enough AND performs all its duties without fail; granted, not as "fast" or "cool"as I'd like, but still: it works.
OTOH, there WERE plenty of broken USB plugs across the board "just after" the warranty period expired, and I can understand that THOSE owners would be pi$$ed (yes, I know 2 or 3 of those as well).

Having said that, EVERYTHING is ALWAYS sold with just ONE "warranty:" that, if in the FIRST YEAR of use the equipment breaks down due to manufacturing defect and/or during "reasonable use" that it be repaired or replaced - at the vendor's discretion.
THAT IS IT. No obligations to support or provide additonal "anything" past the first year.

And THAT is the same across the board for EVEYTHING you buy - except maybe your car and a brand-new house.

Now, IF I'm not mistaken, many/most 'Droid phones aren't upgradeable to the newer O/S versions either, and I don't hear a groundswell of demands for "Free Replacements."
Oh, wait; pretty much ALL Google phones are "free."
And, what about iPhone 1 & 2 owners who could no longer upgrade to iO/S 6 or 7 after the "4" came out, or those who upgraded to the 5 and also had to buy all new connectors & plugs ... ?
It's called "specifications may change without notice." People complained, but no-one called for Steve Jobs & Co. to "BUY back" the old product.

So, "legally" and "morally" there's a case for a remedy of any kind.

Having said that, I DO empathize with the notion that your hard-earned Dollars were spent in good faith and with the expectation that you'd get "more" than you actually ended up with.
Much as that totally sucks, that's just the reality of "Tech" products in today's marketplace.

Just my 2 cents from a penny-less country.
Cheers & Keep Moving!

lol +1

TH will say we are selling...selling..selling...sorry we cant sell bcoz of low ram/offer, again partnering....partnering....partnering.....and the world will be celebrating year 2050!!

You have information we don't? Something that suggests they have billions in corporate debts that they are many months in arrears on perhaps?

With all the crooks and liars (remember Nortel?) I wouldn't be surprised if at the end they started to cook the books to appear stronger.

Posted via CB10

I doubt it. BBRY's numbers have been dismal over the last couple of quarters. If they were indeed "cooking the books" wouldn't you expect them to at least give the appearance of a better financial situation?

This could mean either an "UH OH, I KNEW IT WAS COMING" or a "HOORAY!!! They've FINALLY found a strategic plan the WORKS and BlackBerry is heading to the TOP!" Fingers crossed and hopes for a POSITIVE FUTURE!

Left a preliminary one below... still collecting all my thoughts. Obviously it seems to be a bit more along the lines of going down the plan B path,... but could ultimately could turn into something better for BlackBerry than just staying on the current path.

Posted via CB10

Why don't they just call it plan B instead congratulating themselves on a job well done while making a last moment turn for a plan B? Bunch of hypocrites running BB right now.

I think this should be more - looking for someone who will help us start our OS on their ntb or tablet HW than selling company . . . Well, I hope

The timing suggests that next quarters BB10 sales are going to be terrible or the collapse of bb07 has accelerated or a mixture of the two.

I think everyone just skipped right over your little comment and paid it no attention...problem is I think you could be on to something...fear of how the market could destroy them after the next quarterly report (because of the things you mentioned) could be the reasoning to try to get this all done before they need to report any further...all in all though, this could be a good thing for them...we will all have to sit and wait.

I think BBOS collapse will continue to accelerate as there are better devices competing in that segment, which transitions into BB10 sales and sales price being called into question. Does not look good to me and probably why they are looking at options.

Samsung will be producing the phones for bb10 as I see it. BlackBerry needs an alliance of sorts to launch its new platform which is a blessing as oppose to it just disappearing. This is one of the last Canadian companies to fall. The US And Canada are now foreign owned. We have no one to blame but the American and Canadian consumer.

Where's my FULL BRIDGE Mr. Heins? Please return it!

This is yet the biggest indication that Heins plans for BBRY has failed and now there is no option but to get the most value for shareholders by selling what remains of the company. The CEO takes almost all the blame for the failed turnaround. He is too big on hype and little action. The bb10 introduction is a flop for many reasons: going after apple with a touch screen rather than keyboard, lack of solid third party apps (instead of 100s of thousands of junk), giving-in to carriers and ditching one of the biggest selling points of BBRY, the global roaming package, I can go on and on. There is still a lot of value in the company, but it is eroding very fast. Rather than Lenovo or some of the Asian companies buying the company, I hope Tim cook will be wise enough to buy the company, make a fantastic keyboard phone using the ios platform.

Posted via CB10

If they hadn't brought that touchscreen (Z10) I wouldn't be here (my first ever BB phone). They've done a great job imho with a great product. They just haven't marketed it well enough.

I agree. The Z10 stole me from Apple to be my first BlackBerry. Marketing needs a lot of help, and more apps for those that want them.

Posted via CB10

I really hope this isn't the case. I love my Z10, and there is nothing on the market that compares. If there wasn't any more support I would probably get an iPhone, but I would really rather not.

BlackBerry Z10 | Verizon | 10.2.0.1047

On holiday w/ my better half sitting on a beach in Italy (Porto Ercole) while learning about this and typing this comment up.

I'm sure this will be interpreted a lot of ways... my thoughts? The Prem Watsa resignation is important to pay attention to. I don't think this is an act of desperation by the company... more of an act of how does BlackBerry scale what they've built most effectively. BB10 as a tech platform is strong. Could be with Prem off the board he's the guy who now leads an initiative to go private, so BlackBerry can do their thing behind media / Wall Street scrutiny. Definitely a lot of interesting partnership opportunities too given the current state of mobile.

Need to think on it more... not totally surprised to see the announcement (kind of thought this sort of review was already under way) so will be curious to see what it results in now that it's very known.

Posted via CB10

I agree with Kevin here. The point to note is Mr. Watsa resigning. I can't help but feel that this is something negative and needs to be explored.

WhiteZed10youdumba$$

Negative? Play devil's advocate for a second and look at it the other way...Prem didn't sell any of his stock...maybe Fairfax is going to buyout or partner with someone else to buyout and take BB private, thus giving Prem a huge amount of money from the stock that he now owns and that is what is creating this "conflict of interest"

This is actually good news, they're finally come off their high horse and started a committee to gauge the interest in licensing the BB10 platform and to re-evaluate their stance in the market. What I would love to see is they transform themselves to a service company. Get rid of the hardware but start licensing the software.
The constant hardware releases is what's killing their business.

Let others think about hardware. BlackBerry should start licensing off their keyboard design and BB10 to hardware makers and we'll see this company turn around. They can even release one Blackberry branded phone through a hardware creator (for example Samsung).

This committee is just to explore those options. No need to panic.

Exactly... plus Thor has said this from the start! This was his plan all along... get BB10 out and get the interest level up and make sure it's a stable and secure platform to work with. Now that it's in the wild and doing decently, they can look at potential partnerships and get BB10 onto more devices. This is definitely good news!

If they had just left out the line "sale of the company", this news would be interpreted completely different in my opinion!

Let others make their hardware, so all future BB phones will have great specs but will be a slab of plastic with a slab of glass, and if we're lucky a plastic keyboard with maybe plastic frets... I hate most of the hardware made by everyone. With the exception of the HTC One, none of the other phones out there has even the slightest thought into build quality. It's pretty sad...

Posted without the aid of AutoCorrect with my physical keyboard via CB10

I don't see why they can't set up a 'minimum build quality' program or 'approved by BlackBerry' program for hardware, similar as how Microsoft does it for it's Windows Phones.

I think the Prem Watsa aspect is getting overlooked by the worries of complete sale of the company. This is significant news because he resigned "due to potential conflicts". This guy is smart and loaded... definitely more to come

+1

I agree. This key thing hopefully Chris will comment on in regards to Watsa's resignation. What potential conflicts are being referred to in this situation? Is it because of there is some concrete truth to taking BlackBerry private and Watsa possibly wanting to participate with whatever private equity firm who facilitate the deal??

Or it could simply mean, that as blackberries largest share holder he can't be involved in the decision making. To avoid potential insider trading claims.

He needs to be at the table as a share holder selling his shares not a board member selling them.

Posted via CB10

Thank you Kevin,
I have been arguing for a partnership for a while now and getting flack all over the place. As a shareholder albiet small, I see BBRY as a software Co. which happens to produce hardware. They build fantastic hardware but they need to concentrate on enterprise hardware not consumer. Let the Samsungs, HTCs, etc. build the touch screen devices, heck I suspect some of them could build a much better Z30 than BlackBerry.
I know I'm reading a lot into your comment but I don't think we're that far off.

Stock up almost 7%, so looks like the market is viewing this as good news, which I think makes sense. The stock has been pounded down lately because the market hasn't had faith in BlackBerry on its current path... so announcing you're looking to change paths a bit (or get help to accelerate) should go over well.

Posted via CB10

Exactly. I don't think it helps consumers like you and me. We just bought a BB tablet and a BB phone in the name of trust. We helped them by giving our money, and yet we do not get anything other than an overpriced phone/tablet which won't probably have bright future.

Interesting aside.... would you sell yours as you know a bounce is eminent with this news? I would not, not yet.

Kevin focus your attention on your girlfriend/fiancee/wife. You can bitch-slap BlackBerry management after your vacation. Priorities. Priorities. Priorities.

Arrivedercci!

Kevin, one word in your synopsis is the biggest challenge for BlackBerry right now...SCALE. They don't have the money, nor the momentum to scale this thing the way they planned. They tried, but didn't execute on the marketing and delivery side of this rollout(super bowl commercial, but no availability in US for months on all carriers = NO momentum in a very influential market!)...in the smartphone market when you lose what little momentum you have, couple that with a very cynical media audience and it's no wonder sales are struggling. Couple that with a slow BES10 rollout which has handcuffed your enterprise market rollouts until late 2013/early 2014 and you've burned a year talking and not delivering in vast quantities like you had hoped.

Most objective analysts agree that the product itself is very good...the technology and UI are very efficient to help you get things done. Has that been conveyed to the public? I'm not sure I got that out of a tidal wave of yellow balls coming down the street...but can the right marketing organization and deeper pockets change all that? Throw in a potential partnership on the HW side...you've got nothing but upside. When the choice is Android or iOS only in the market...it's a challenge for most, but Android is winning because of their scale. When speaking to others that own both, I don't find any crazy fanboys around those environments...yes, they have apps...do they like the UI? They are used to it, but not in love with it...

As the smartphone technology curve continues to flatten out like it has, boredom will set in and there will be more curiosity about other OSes, like BB10, if they can convince people that that the phone will make their lives easier, integrate with their cars easier, etc...once more phones of enterprise clients are out in the wild, I think there will be a trickle down effect...as we all first came in contact with our first BB...it was somebody you knew showing you the capabilities and how easy it was to get your email done...they desperately need to get more in the wild to show how easy it is to Keep Moving...going private takes the pressure of Wall St off and allows them to build these partnerships and get marketing, R&D and execution ramped up to Global Smartphone Scale!

I came to that conclusion because the company never executed with finesse and seems to be relying on this as Plan B. If Plan A and Phase 3 is not in play anymore as originally planned, which is how I see it, then it sounds like its over to me too. I don't see capital in tons or a joint venture. Partnerships are a long shot under these circumstances, in my view. Of course, this is pure speculation.

This is the board finally stepping in and putting an end to Heins folly, arrogance, and vision of 'mobile end multi point, home computing where tablets don't exit' vision.

Good lord, took the cavalry time to end this.

Posted via CB10

Who needs to buy it it's over. This type of announcement seals the deal. No one will invest in BlackBerry as of today. It's really a shame. Don't even bother producing the z30 now!

Where's my FULL BRIDGE Mr. Heins? Please return it!

So why are you still here? If you cannot provide a constructive comment don't bother as you do not add to the conversation. You're a loser just like your name and you are no different than the trolls who claim the world is over or that BlackBerry is bankrupt.

Your comment makes no sense at all. May be you are the defender TROLL. Let him express his views, constructive or not.

Good news in my opinion. If the company is struggling, this is what they need to do - - not sit around and struggle more. To all those who are saying this is the beginning of the end, would you rather they NOT look for ways to improve their business?

The positives I see coming from this are potential partnerships with hardware manufacturers to alleviate hardware costs the company is incurring, and also gets BB10 onto more devices and into more peoples' hands; another positive could be a partnership with a company like Sierra Wireless that Umi was talking about a couple weeks ago.

Let's be realistic... it's my third BlackBerry since 2008. 9000, 9900, Z10.
I still use my 9900 and I bought a Z10 because I wanted to be supporting the effort of BlackBerry's war against Itoy and Scamsung.
I was hoping that the damn 600€ acquisition was feeling like I participated into something that has worthed to be fought for.
Now look, I feel somehow betrayed. It's not about the Z10, it's about BlackBerry's management and marketing. Very soon, either the brand will pull up or crashes.
I hate investing into long lasting products that are being produced by some arrogant idiots sitting on their leather chairs, eating some caviars and thinking that everything is okay while the ship is sinking.
If at least they were trying to have us blown with tons of advertising, serious presence, providing matters for people to buy their products again well, I would think differently today.

Seriously, what a random man would think as he enters a carrier's store? What needs does he need? Why should he buy a product that he doesn't know about while most of his friends and family had shown him either an itoy or a scamsung? He won't take the risk... it's his money and BlackBerry must remember that a money well-earned is earned through intense brainwashing. I have never seen adverts for BlackBerry in France. Most people don't know about either Z10 and Q10.

Posted via CB10 on my BlackBerry Z10.

Gross. I've had Samsung's before. Never again. Besides, the galaxy line after the S2 have all been horrificly ugly IMO.

I don't have a crystal ball but my guess is that a deal is going to happen. A buyout or going private will cause a pop in the stock price, which is great for shareholders if they plan to sell in the near term. But I'm a long term believer in the company's vision. Privatization will mean the common shareholder will need to give up their shares prematurely and not be able to benefit from the company's long term success. On the other hand, by going private, BlackBerry will be able to execute their vision behind the curtains, without the criticism of shareholders and media, which is good thing as all the negative news in the past year has detracted their focus on pushing their products forward. And they will have the financial backing of the deep pocketed private equity firms to re-organize and move forward.

I think BlackBerry is intentionally depressing their own stock price. Why would they launch their last few new products near the end of the quarter? So that their sales are not reflected in the upcoming earnings release. Look at the timing of the launch of the Q10 and then the Q5. Only a few weeks of sales in a handful of countries were reflected in their respective quarterly earnings report. This created an image that the launches were not successful. So why would BlackBerry want to do this? To make themselves more attractive for privatization.

Another sign that BlackBerry is headed towards privatization is the hoarding of cash. Private equity firms like to see a good amount of cash on the balance sheet. Almost half of BlackBerry's valuation is cash. BlackBerry can also use this cash to contribute to their own buyout by repurchasing their own stock, at a price that they've been trying to manipulate.

So, as a BlackBerry fan, I am excited about what will happen going forward, but as a shareholder, I sit on the fence about all this drama.

It's nice to see a comment from someone who actually understands financials. I just ran a quick ratio for BBRY and it surprised me to see that they are not doing so bad (from an accounting point of view). These scare mongers read news that the stock price is low, and sales are flopping etc, but what they don't look at, is BBRY's financial. They do have a solid balance sheet, and from looking at the P&L statement, they only had a 1.2 mil profil loss...

I def agree with everything you have just posted, and I'm 100% positive that Silver Lake and BBRY are working on privatization.

Agreed. In the year ending March 1, 2008 RIM had 14 million subscribers and sold 13.8 million devices. That year they generated $6 billion in revenue and made $2.31 per share. Flash forward five years (i.e. after five long years of *wink* declines caused by Apple) and they only have 70+ million subscribers, only sold 28.1 million devices in the year ending March 2013, and only generated $11.1 billion in revenue. Forget what the stock price has done - the list of companies that have had as much operational growth as Apple over the past five years is a very short one, but the list of companies that have done as well as BlackBerry over that same time frame is still a very exclusive group. You would never know it from everything you read but a smart buyer would love to take this company private before the public realizes just how strong the company's balance sheet, patents and technology, past execution, and future prospects actually are. The current share price needs to rise dramatically or else someone will be getting this company for a bargain and will come out the other side very rich.

So... this is the beginning of the end? or the end of the beginning?
Either way, things do not look good for BlackBerry right now...

Why?

Say you sell great cakes. You make some profit with them, but you know yuo could do much better. You sit down with a few people to try and see who to sell even more cakes. Maybe open a few more stores. Maybe sell to different people in different places. Heck, maybe even have different people sell your cakes for you!

That's all they are doing. What is bad there?

Good, in my opinion. Partnerships are never a bad thing because they open up strategic opportunities for the company and get the software into more people's hands.

Hey Kevin & Adam, My experience tells me that if there was demand for corporations to buy Blackberry then they (BB) would not have needed to say that in strategic options we are also looking for a sale of the company. Many potential buyers like HP, IBM etc would have approached BB and the deal would have been directly announced. There was no need for forming a special board etc etc. This could also be a way for BB to discover their fair share price and value of their company at current stage. Also this could be just noise as the September quarter could turn out to be worst than expected and customer attrition would have been beyond control affecting the service revenues. Also BB10 phones would be doing miserably bad. So may be at this point in time they made such a PR. Hadn't they done such a PR even before about strategic partnership etc? For me this is just noise and no big deal. For me the real deal would be HP coming out with an offer of $20 and IBM giving a counter $24. Thats what I would call as exciting.

Again, I have owned the shares for a year and I didn't take all of this risk for 20-30% profit. I hope they don't force me to sell.
Maybe Fairfax will buy a huge share of outstanding stocks and force a short squeeze or something.

Your experience and perception seems to be more realistic. I think you should be writing articles for Crackberry.

The last paragraph of Chris' initial write up read, "I’m going to be on the road pretty much all day, and hopefully I can do a bit more of a thorough discussion on this topic later on."

Hopefully he'll be back soon with a follow up.

This is good positive news no matter how much the haters and shorts spin it. Look for more short covering as even they see what is going to happen.

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Finally they start to do something...let's hope this isn't the being of the end...

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No, not really. We've seen them announcing they were looking for alternatives waaayyy back when. Where do you think all the "BB10 on Nokia/LG/HTC/Samsung" came from?

They just issued a reminder "hey you all! we are still looking at alternatives while we do our thing!"

From "keep moving" to "let's go". I wrote that a few days ago. Here we are. They need more ease to perform faster. We are waiting for numerous launches (Z30-A10, BBM cross-platform, BBM Channels, BES 10.2, "Mobile computing" extensions ...) so I'm not on the "abandon ship" theory.
I will now put my bet on the table (pure speculation, as nothing but my background to back it up) : I believe we'll hear about MS and BlackBerry running an alliance. Because 2X #three ... you know what I mean.

If the company does goes private or is taken over hope that they end up like Motorola, Google may own the company but the NAME remains, wouldn't want to keep using a product/brand that doesn't exist anymore :)

C.Umi! Your article is needed!

People are not only panicking, they are starting to lose sight of reality!

Samsung has lovely hardware, bad OS. BlackBerry has lovely OS bad hardware. A partnership between these two won't be a bad thing. But what will they call the phone?

Even if it was the Samsung Galaxy B, BlackBerry would make cash on the license fees Samsung would pay to have BB10 in there.

And Samsung would... well I don't see the benefit for Samsung right now. Make it any other hardware maker but Apple and Samsung and they would be in for a treat (good hardware + BB10).

The obvious benefit for Samsung would be a better operating system then what they use currently. So it comes down to a cost/benefit analysis which will be tough for BlackBerry (Microsoft is in the same boat) when the cost of the alternative is free.

Well... But that's gonna happe.

They announced that BBM will come pre-installed on their Galaxy stuff.

Regarding the launch, AT&T Blew it in the USA. The BlackBerry Z10 is in back of the store, while the iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S4 are at the front. I had to search for the BlackBerry and it was next to the iPhone 4 on a nondescript wall. The marketing at AT&T was abysmal!

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This coming from the guy that said BB10 would be on the playbook:

BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins added that:

"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."

Finally, a realistic interpretation of what this news actually means! Sheesh! People need to settle down. Really this news isn't anything that hasn't been said before.

Posted while peeking and flowing on my incredible BBQ10!

What will this ultimately mean, will BlackBerry s just stop (bbm service)
Will we take another hit from developers, because they won't invest time on this platform?

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Why would anyone buy BB now. Just wait for the stock to fall below $3 and pick it up cheap. Ichan is probably salivating, maybe even Samsung as they're probably eyeing those precious patents.

Because at $3 you would have a ton of competition and someone might buy it before you at $4. Pay $20 and you might actually get the company.

Guys, what is the issue here? This could mean anything from selling the company, taking it private or just partner with other companies like Samsung or Lenovo...

Or nothing at all.

It clearly does not say:"hey, we are done. It's all over ".. and for me most of you read this here...

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Basically the board now realizes that the people running the company can't pull it off with what is available and maybe someone else can! The board failed the company by letting the previous management wait too long to start the transition, then they took the longest possible route to do the transition. I think the route they took was the right one, they just executed it in typical RIM fashing, i.e. POORLY!

The good news is that market appreciate the announcement on Friday; after hours, stock rise by more than 9% in NY... Some shorts may sweat a lot for now :)

First the announcement that privatization of the company was being looked into and now news that Watsa is stepping down and a special committee was formed. This, to me, sounds like it's been planned long beforehand and is going into fruition now. I think Mr. Watsa has had his eye on taking this company private since the start. Overall, some very calculated measures taking place. I just hope whatever the outcome, we can get our hands on new BlackBerry products.

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When they put the lawyers in the press release they are serious. Because you only need lawyers to document a deal. You don't need lawyers just to have high level business discussions CEO to CEO.

Is it wrong to actually hope for BBRY to not relinquish their hardware production sector? Its not that I am against the benefits of being a service company but I'm just curious of the efects for the persistence to preserve both software and hardware production within the company itself....

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Nope, at least I hope not because I'm also against it. I like the right integration between hardware and software that BlackBerry has and I'd hate to see that go away.

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But I dont want an Android or I phone. I was planning on using QNX for the next 10ish years.

Well...we know which platform you like. Do not assume people of being close-minded just because they found something they like. We all went through the crap that is android phones, iPhones and the like and found a platform that we love. Grow up and quit being close minded

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Funny how the people that know less about the big picture and more about perceived surface instability are the ones that bark loudest about "BlackBerry going down" or "The end of BlackBerry".
This is an excellent move by BB and more of a "let's try THIS road", than "Is that a dead end sign up there?". I think we'll see in the near future that BB will be advancing as a leader in today's mobile media race. Going private would only help them.

Lets thank all the American carriers, for a job well done of getting BB off the market.
Like Johnny Lombardi used to say " Ona bona joba"

Yes BB should also be blamed, but its the carriers who decide where the product is placed.
How about when the new itoy comes out and carriers but it in the backroom and don't have it on the display counter as soon as you walk in, would like to see the sales.

I can not believe how many people ( Loyal BB users ) refuse to see what is happening. BB is not selling phones. There product is barely trickling out because demand for there phone is nothing what they hoped it would be. Yet there is hope ? There is " alternative strategy's " " The Z30 will change things " " need to go private " ......

That is just nuts. BB is not selling and they are not making money period.
All the talk about HTC, LG . Sony , or any other Android Phone maker not making money unless you are Samsung is pure FAN based BS. BB is the one NOT making money , I'd wouldn't worry about any of the Android phone makers.

Believe what you all want but there is no light at the end of this tunnel.

Actually out of HTC, LG, Sony and other companies on Android, Samsung is the only one making money on their cellphone hardware devices. It is very well documented.

Which ever way this pans out I hope that the BlackBerry intellectual property stays in the west and is not gobbled up by the east, well China more specifically.
I don't want to see a Google buyout of BlackBerry if that means BlackBerry devices go Android, I want to see BB10 mature and develop into a mature OS, it will be a great OS given the time.

In ignorance I'm hoping for a privatisation deal but then I'm often over optimistic.

The nightmare: Microsoft buys BlackBerry, fuse it with "the Surface team", shuts down BB10 and integrate keyboard, BES and other enterprise solutions into Windows Phone and RT. Worst of all? It will give the new company this name and brand: BlueBerry !!!!

As I said - the z30 will be the last phone to launch under their banner. All resources should have been funneled into making the bb10 an exceptional user experience- tat should have designed a revolutionary interface and the phone should have offered something new. How much money is being burned in hiring outside experts, lawyers and financial consultants that should have been invested in product development. It demonstrates the CEO has no vision. Start with a new ceo.

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It looks like blackberry is finally done, I'll enjoy my z10 for another year and then upgrade to apple or maybe windows 8.

Thanks for the fun!

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I tell you, if they go down I am swooping up like 3 Q10's and that will last me like another 3years then I can eeeaaasssee into a new platform. Well at least if they go down they left us with BB10 OS and not BB07

I think a joint venture or even selling, in the end, is better then cracking up. Maybe more advertising, marketing and cash will prevent BB (or what is gonna remain of it) from sinking. I just hope BlackBerry features will be kept alive, independently on how this is gonna end.

Soon BlackBerry will be bankrupt and the cell phone carriers will be stuck with the inventory they themselves can't get rid of.

Fairfax financial will partner with CPP and other financial equity firms and take BB private at 14-16$ per share..

Don't panic, even if BB goes private, this would not be the end. Privatization will give them the chance to make major, transformative changes in the way they do business without having to worry about the short-term effects on revenue that would otherwise send the stock price into a tailspin.

Making really big changes to the way a company operates while still having to report quarterly earnings is a bit like changing the engines on a plane while it's in flight. Going private may be the best thing for BB right now. This will become more clear as things progress in the months to come, but private equity does not necessarily mean breaking up the company and selling off the pieces to make an immediate return on the investment; sometimes it means fixing what's broken, and then going public again.

Notice that the media only honed in on the possibility of sale. Just goes to show that it's better to keep your trap shut when you're surrounded by hawks and vultures. Stupid move.

Samsung with Blackberry 10 OS is just a dream, Samsung is finalizing their new os - TIZEN which is also Swipe/Gesture based os. Dont say that they copy that from Blackberry, Blackberry 10 is just a son of MeeGo from Nokia.
Wayback 2011 Nokia/Intel announced a new os: MeeGo the first and the mother of Swipe/Gesture Based os, at the same time they announced the first and last phone with MeeGo the Nokia N9, even though MeeGo/N9 received positive feedback from reviewers, Nokia discontinued MeeGo due to their focus on Windows Phone. After that Intel created a new partnership with Samsung to continue the efforts an the os MeeGo, Samsung agreed and they renamed it to Tizen. Some time leaks from testers suggest that Blackberry copies MeeGo and will also use swipe/gesture based operation in the new os. Nokia researchers who develop and created MeeGo formed a company Jolla and also announced a new swipe/gesture based os - Sailfish OS, also they already announced their new phone and just waiting for a release. Some people suggest that before the end of the year Samsung will announce the first phone to run Tizen. And also for those people hoping for Nokia it won't happen since why will Nokia use an os that is just copy of MeeGo that they dumped last 2011

Samsung with Blackberry 10 OS is just a dream, Samsung is finalizing their new os - TIZEN which is also Swipe/Gesture based os. Dont say that they copy that from Blackberry, Blackberry 10 is just a son of MeeGo from Nokia.
Wayback 2011 Nokia/Intel announced a new os: MeeGo the first and the mother of Swipe/Gesture Based os, at the same time they announced the first and last phone with MeeGo the Nokia N9, even though MeeGo/N9 received positive feedback from reviewers, Nokia discontinued MeeGo due to their focus on Windows Phone. After that Intel created a new partnership with Samsung to continue the efforts an the os MeeGo, Samsung agreed and they renamed it to Tizen. Some time leaks from testers suggest that Blackberry copies MeeGo and will also use swipe/gesture based operation in the new os. Nokia researchers who develop and created MeeGo formed a company Jolla and also announced a new swipe/gesture based os - Sailfish OS, also they already announced their new phone and just waiting for a release. Some people suggest that before the end of the year Samsung will announce the first phone to run Tizen. And also for those people hoping for Nokia it won't happen since why will Nokia use an os that is just copy of MeeGo that they dumped last 2011

Well thank you Thorsten Heins.... so BlackBerry is going to be chopped up and sold down the road?

Thor, Thor, Thor ... My My, its was so predictable!
When you produce something that no ones wants to buy, this is the result.
The world is not Canada, UK or US.
Living outside this countries is more easy to see BB decline ... no devices on stores, no sales, no advertising, is totally dead!

First and foremost I'm a Blackberry user and supporter. I'm behind Thorsten Heins do to his knowledge in business. He help Siemens AG be one of the strongest company in Germany. I feel that he will build Blackberry where they where 7 years ago. So I will keep my shares I have with BlackBerry and hope they choose not to go private.

I'm against it and I'm sure there are many shareholders that's against the company going private as well. That doesn't mean it's not the right move for the company. If they have to go private to better the company then that's what they have to do. I will continue to support and buy Blackberry products due to the fact that they are the closest thing to being a super mobile computer.

Huh...I wonder how selling the company "increases the sell of BB10?" Suddenly BBM going cross platform makes sense

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Apple tried to put a computer in the phone.
Amateur hour is over.
Wake Up, Be Bold.
QNX.
Flow, peek, hub, multi tasking, active frames.
Back in the race.
Greatest launch ever.
Sales are fantastic.
Selling like hot cakes.
Sold out.
Long lines and Q10 outsells iPhone and Samsung in UK and French.
Firing all cylinder.
Have billions of cash and no debt.
iPhone is outdated.
Tablet is dead.
Mobile computing.

USA media and carriers sabotage BB.
USA is not the whole world.
Still a king in the emerging countries.

Do I miss anything?
What now?

"Leap Frogging the competition"

That one was a favorite of mine. I purchased 5 Playbooks. I leapfrog them when reaching for my Ipad.

I continue to use my BlackBerry PlayBooks in spite of BlackBerry management's attempts to ultimately kill this tablet. I am typing this message with the BlackBerry Bluetooth Mini-Keyboard and the tablet securely in the accompanying case. It has been my mobile office since BlackBerry Bridge was released for BlackBerry OS 5/6 although these days it does not provide the same level of integration with my BlackBerry 10 smartphone.

I don't a BB phone. I'm and old Palm Tree, Pre guy who went Android when Palm went away to iPhone 4s to HTC One. I don't need bridge. I use Celtx(iOS) app for my job. The Playback isn't a one size fit all. I'm glad you can get work done on it.

I can't.

I got 5 friends to buy the PB based on BB10. I am one-by-one reimbursing all of them.

I take responsibility. They trusted me. I trusted BB. Never again.

Tell me what is so special about this committee ?? Barbara Stymiest, Thorsten Heins, Richard Lynch and Bert Nordberg, and will be chaired by Timothy Dattels.

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