Blackberry co-founder Balsillie sells off stake in smartphone pioneer
Jim Balsillie, co-chief executive officer of Research In Motion Ltd. until January 2012, sold his remaining 5.1 percent equity stake, severing his last formal ties to the company he helped found 20 years ago.
Balsillie reported owning zero shares in RIM as of Dec. 31 in a U.S. regulatory filing on Thursday. Investors who hold an equity stake in a company of less than 5 percent are not required to disclose when they buy or sell the shares, according to Securities and Exchange Commission rules.
Balsillie had been the third-largest shareholder and helped lead the company during its heyday as a smartphone pioneer and market leader, which this year changed its name to just BlackBerry. He departed last year along with co-CEO Mike Lazaridis after fumbling product introductions and losing market share to Apple Inc.'s iPhone and to Android devices.
“It's another tie severed,” said Colin Gillis, an analyst at BGC Partners in New York. “When there's so much turmoil in his effort to turn the company around, it's not unreasonable for someone to sell his stake and move on.”
BlackBerry does not comment on the holdings of individual shareholders, said Heidi Davidson, a spokeswoman for the Waterloo, Ontario-based business. Balsillie also declined to comment when approached through his assistant and the company.
Balsillie may have benefited from the stock's fourth- quarter rally before selling it. Optimism about the company's new BlackBerry 10 lineup of phones fueled a 58 percent stock rally in the fourth quarter of last year, rewarding investors after years of declines. After Balsillie's disclosure today, BlackBerry shares tumbled as much as 7.5 percent. The stock later recovered and closed up 7.7 percent to $15.07.
Lazaridis, the fellow co-founder who invented the BlackBerry device, held 29.9 million shares as of Dec. 31, according to a separate filing on Thursday. That gives him a stake of 5.7 percent in the company.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- H-D Advanced Manufacturing in Franklin Park buys aerospace components maker Firstmark
- U.S. Steel, Alcoa lead June decline
- U.S. employers add 223K jobs, jobless rate falls to 5.3%
- Gulf states reach $18.7B settlement with BP over oil spill
- McDonald’s to close more U.S. restaurants than it opens this year
- Job hunters rightly fear having identities stolen
- Innovative desk makers take stand against sitting at work
- Republicans divided on extending Export-Import Bank’s charter
- Sitting with family on plane may cost extra fee
- More holding the soda with Happy Meal
- Rules holding for-profit schools accountable for student earnings go into effect