TribLIVE

| Business

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

BlackBerry founders Lazaridis, Fregin consider buying struggling smartphone maker

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

On the Grid

From the shale fields to the cooling towers, Trib Total Media covers the energy industry in Western Pennsylvania and beyond. For the latest news and views on gas, coal, electricity and more, check out On the Grid today.

By The Associated Press
Friday, Oct. 11, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

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.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Business Headlines

  1. Just Mayo has egg industry in a panic, emails show
  2. Housing bright spot as Beige Book survey shows Pittsburgh region’s growth slight
  3. Pa. business interests decry EPA ozone proposal as economic albatross
  4. Stock indexes enter correction territory; bear market could be lurking
  5. U.S. stocks bounce back from precipitous drop
  6. Shale gas violations down as DEP steps up inspections
  7. PPG’s new CEO to push organic growth with existing clients
  8. Steady hiring pace increases odds of Fed action
  9. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau gives alternative to customer service frustrations
  10. Idea Foundry CEO Matesic decides which new companies get help from his Pittsburgh business incubator
  11. Coal stocks on a roller coaster ride they can’t get off