Jim Balsillie liquidates his BlackBerry shares

Jim Balsillie
By Simon Sage on 14 Feb 2013 10:04 am EST

BlackBerry's ex co-CEO Jim Balsillie has sold off his remaining stock in BlackBerry. Last march, his stake was valued at $385 million, though it might be worth less now. 

BlackBerry's stock price took a slight dip after the news surfaced, but all in all, this could very easily be a good thing. Without any material say in what goes on in the company, BlackBerry is free to continue its journey unfettered by old management

On the other side of the coin, you have Mike Lazaridis, who still seems very active in the company and even made an appearance during the BlackBerry 10 launch. Would you guys rather Laziridis stay active in the company as a shareholder, or does BlackBerry need a clean slate?

Former Co-CEO Jim Balsillie now totally disconnected from BlackBerry 

Source: Yahoo!Seeking Alpha

Reader comments

Jim Balsillie liquidates his BlackBerry shares


finally the bad guy had left the ship . . .this will make it easier to move ahead

and he can start waisting all his money and his energy in buying an ice-hockey team ^^

Gotta love people who act like they know him personally and criticize.

He can always say, "Helped build $19 billion company from scratch". What have you done that compares?

I don't agree with all of his decisions, but the man accomplished far, far more in business than likely most of the crackberry visitors put together ...

Yup. Agree with that.

The co-CEO's arguably didn't keep their eyes on the ball and couldn't react to recent trends, but there's no denying their achievement in building RIM from nothing.

The name calling is what I'm starting to expect hereabouts unfortunately... I'm expecting somebody to call Jim a "Trollllll!!!" at any moment. LOL

Sooo... I think this is good news. Gives me even more faith in BBRY and #TEAMBLACKBERRY. Am sure the street will look at it as a bad thing short term, but long term this is good news.

The Phoenix team is on the market again. Please take it off our hands so Glendale can get out of thier budget shortfall. He can turn the 385 mil into nothing.

When what he said made any sense,the guy sounded like a snake oil salesman. He is not to be trusted.

Most of the time what he said made no sense at all.

He was embarrasing to listen to.

I think we all would sell our block in a company that we can't show up to meeting at any more. He did the right thing. I heard he put it all in AAPL in August of last year. Good luck with that!

I wouldn't say it's a bad idea to get Mike's opinion, they don't have to listen to him. He's not in charge anymore, which is good.

His non appearance at the launch event struck me as weird when I didn't see him in the audience. I wondered why but didn't give it more thought. Now it's obvious.

spin it anyway you want.

If the guy had confidence in the company's stock value going up... he would not have sold unless he was in a bind for cash.

Sure lots of reason one might want to get out, especially after what happened.

But potential profit will usually override any personal reason.

Guys - spin it however you want - an insider selling ALL of his stock in a company is a strong negative signal to investors. Insiders don`t sell stock unless they see bad things coming...

He isn't an insider anymore...hasn't been with the company in over a year and is no longer involved in any way. If I was him, I'd cash out, close that chapter and move on as well.

Sorry I didn`t realize Jim wasn`t involved anymore - I thought he was still on the board... Got him confused with Mikey. My bad! :) Though it would unwise to assume that he has absolutely no inside information whatsoever :)

No No no... He is simply liquidating his stock so he can purchase the Coyotes from the NHL and move them to Quebec, Hamiltion, Kansas City or Seattle.

Relax ;)

Since the question was about Mike, not Jim: yes, he should stay. He is a brilliant engineer that knows more about complex things like radio stacks and antenna designs - let alone physics and quantum mechanics. He's back in the lab where he belongs. I liked seeing him at the announcement, but he does not need to be on stage. BBRY has learned to channel Steve Jobs and Apple in their stage craft. That's a good thing. Everything Thorsten says in public is a PR dream. He's got the correct approach down. He's done everything but put on a black turtle neck and jeans. When he speaks, he tells you something good, and why you will like it. The result is focused and solution driven. I've worked on many major international product announcements, behind the scenes. This is how it's done, and he is doing it well.

Jim and Mike were never good public speakers. Jim was actually quite bad. I'm glad to see he is moving on, but glad to see that Mike is back in the lab with the thinkers.

As a owner of BB stocks, I'm concerned. Can you confirm if he sold the shares before BB10 launch or just recently - like a few days ago? I'm asking because maybe he saw disappointing sales figures of the Z10 from UK and Canada and decided to sell. If his shares were sold before, then it's not contributing factor. Like some of you mentioned, maybe he sold to purchase an NHL franchise.

Before anyone smashes the guy to much, keep in mind he was a big part of the force that purchased QNX, without, we all know that BB would surely be finished.

In addition, he built a company, and is now taking his gain for other endeavours,....

Yes he should stay! He is still a great asset to the company and he is one smart cookie!!
In the end, Jim was lame as he could not keep his mouth shut. Anytime he opened his mouth it was a disaster. Still is today! Like his name Bal_Silly!

He may have brought something to the table at the beginning, good on him but the last 5 years...?!?!? Now that he is out all together, better for BBRY!

I personally never like Balsillie for a multititude of reasons!

But Mike, great respect! THE founder of RIM!
Great thinker, Innovator & Inventor with many collaborators (other than Jim IMO!)

He should definitely stay!!

He sold the shares last year. Not recently. The filing is a legal requirement.

This has no impact on the corporation. It's a shame and the passing of an era, but sadly for Jim the company is better off without him.

And Mike should stay. He started the company with another guy before Jim joined them.

Mike should stay. He helped to bring about the new direction with purchases he made that enabled BlackBerry to realign and position itself so it has a future.

So he sold a while ago. Meanwhile after he did that there were high profile buys like Prem Watsa who probably knows more about what he is doing than Jim. The negative news always nosedives the stock. Whenever they do something good it barely moves. Like it or not hedge funds are trying to pull the stock down as much as possible and hold it there. In my opinion in the long run it wont work. Just waiting on the March earnings date and I'll be laughing all the way up. Realistically anyone who thinks BB will die in the next 5 years bar a smartphone market meltdown is EXTREMELY small. Cash on hand and new devices out and being marketed.

A lot of people can be pretty hard on Jim. He didn't design the BB hardware or aging software. You can't sell (which was basically his job) what the people don't want.

So the stock went up despite the fact that one of the biggest shareholders was selling all his shares. Great news for the stock actually!

This is actually great news for the stock. Think of it this way - many people were wondering where all the sell pressure came from last year, as the stock would make dramatic drops. Many speculated it was shorts coming out continually selling. This now indicates that 28 million "real shares" were sold from a single person as of Dec 31st last year. Now that those shares are all bought out and hopefully owned by some longs, with short interest at a high right now this could mean a short squeeze coming soon on good news.

Very happy that Mike Lazaridis is still involved with the company. He has greater foresight than I could imagine. Still glad to see Thorsten Heins holding the reins of the company. His focus and discipline made it possible for Lazaridis' vision to have come to reality in a QNX phone. Even better, it has a fighting chance in the market.