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BlackBerry looking for buyout?

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As trading in BlackBerry shares was halted on the Nasdaq on Monday morning ahead of a news conference, it has emerged that mobile device maker BlackBerry’s board of directors has formed a “special committee” to investigate “strategic alternatives” – which could involve being bought out by a private company.

Thorsten Heins, President and Chief Executive Officer of BlackBerry (image: ZD Net)
Thorsten Heins, President and Chief Executive Officer of BlackBerry (Image source: ZD Net)

According to CNET, “The company specifically said that it’s trying to ‘enhance value and increase scale in order to accelerate BlackBerry 10 deployment.” However, BlackBerry also noted that those alternatives could range from joint ventures to a sale of its operation to another firm.”

But until that happens, BlackBerry will still focus on their core production of mobile phones and launching the multi-platform BBM messaging system.

“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,” Thorsten Heins, President and Chief Executive Officer of BlackBerry said in a statement.

According to Timothy Dattels, Chairman of BlackBerry’s Special Committee, the company has been considering what is the best way forward for the company. “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 shareholder.”

As to when exactly the company will open themselves to joint ventures or the sale of its operations is still unclear – and BlackBerry is not divulging any further details. “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.”

Shares in BlackBerry have tumbled since the beginning of the year, down 18 percent to the current price of $9.76 – almost half its 52-week high of $18.32.

Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor

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