BlackBerry Cancels Fairfax Buyout as Heins Steps Down as CEO

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In September, BlackBerry announced it planned to accept a $4.7 billion buyout from a consortium led by Fairfax Financial Holdings. The deal was expected to go through November 4, with BlackBerry becoming a private company in the process. But it seems that the $4.7 billion deal has fallen through, with Farifax announcing today that, along with other institutional investors, it plans instead to invest $1 billion into the struggling company. The news comes as a surprise, since Blackberry has reportedly also been shopping around for potential buyers in recent months, with names like Lenovo and Facebook surfacing.

BlackBerry CEO Thornsten Heins

Blackberry has struggled to regain a share of the smartphone market with the Z10 and Q10 handsets, as well as its Blackberry 10 mobile operating system. During the time that the company planned to sell, it posted $1 billion in losses for Q3, and announced plans to lay off around 40% of its workforce.

According to a press release,  Blackberry CEO Thorsten Heins will be stepping down and David Kerr, who is resigning from the board of directors, will act as the interim CEO until a replacement is hired. John S. Chen will be appointed Executive Chair of Blackberry’s Board of Directors and Prem Watsa, the Chairman and CEO of Fairfax, will become the lead director of Chair of the Compensation, Nomination and Governance Committee.

So what does this mean for the future of BlackBerry? According to new CEO Chen, it has no intention of shutting down its handset division. “I know we have enough ingredients to build a long-term sustainable business,” he said in an interview with Reuters.

Source: The New York Times


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