BlackBerry founders Lazaridis, Fregin consider buying struggling smartphone maker
TORONTO — BlackBerry founders Mike Lazaridis and Douglas Fregin are weighing taking over the distressed smartphone company as it searches for a savior.
Lazaridis said Thursday in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that he and Fregin are looking to potentially acquire the 92 percent of the shares they don't own, either by themselves or with other interested parties. They have hired Goldman Sachs and Centerview Partners to help them explore options.
The filing said Lazaridis and Fregin own 8 percent of BlackBerry.
Their announcement is the latest sign of investor interest in BlackBerry after the company started a review to consider a possible sale or breakup of its operations. The Canadian company announced last month that Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd., which owns close to 10 percent of the company, signed a letter of intent that “contemplates” buying BlackBerry for $9 a share, or $4.7 billion. Fairfax, BlackBerry's largest shareholder, is trying to attract other investors. Private equity firm Cerberus is also interested in looking at Blackberry's books as a step toward a possible bid.
The stock is trading below Fairfax's tentative offer on fears that the deal won't go through or that the final price will be lower. Shares of the company rose 9 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $8.20 on Thursday.
The BlackBerry, pioneered in 1999, was once the dominant smartphone for on-the-go business people and other consumers. It could be so addictive that it was nicknamed “the CrackBerry.” But then came a new generation of competing smartphones, starting with Apple's iPhone in 2007.
The BlackBerry suddenly looked ancient. Its sales and market share shrank, and it lost billions in market value.
This year's much-delayed debut of the BlackBerry 10 system and the fancier devices that use it was supposed to rejuvenate the brand and lure customers. It did not work. Waterloo, Ontario-based BlackBerry recently announced 4,500 layoffs, or 40 percent of its global workforce, and reported a quarterly loss of nearly $1 billion.
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.
- Roundup: Pittsburgh Corning plan confirmed; II-VI reorganizes segments; more
- Highmark to increase premiums, limit access to health care in new plans
- Coca-Cola shaves incentives for executives
- Canadian company wins bid for casino
- Truck deals give auto sales a lift
- New models, China sales key to GM’s future, Barra tells investors
- Bond experts fear inevitable sell-off
- Consol Energy cutting retiree health benefits, phasing out pension
- Oil, gas industry boom leads to expansion of laws in Pennsylvania
- Stocks slammed as manufacturing slows in U.S., abroad
- Google Pittsburgh instrumental in fight against hackers, co-directors say