Late last week, there were rumors that BlackBerry was looking for a buyer. Word on the street was the board was open to taking the company private so the company could sort out its problems out of the public. In a surprise move, BlackBerry on Monday morning confirmed that it was open to selling up, forming a strategic partnership with another company, or other possible solutions.
BlackBerry this morning announced the company's board has formed a special committee "to explore strategic alternatives to enhance value and increase scale in order to accelerate BlackBerry 10 deployment." The committee is made up of Barbara Stymiest (chairperson at BlackBerry), Thorsten Heins (CEO at BlackBerry), Richard Lynch (BlackBerry board member and former Verizon VP), and Bert Nordberg (board member and former CEO of Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications). The committee will be chaired by Timothy Dattels, a member of BlackBerry's board and a former partner at Goldman Sachs.
"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 shareholders," said Dattels. "Given the importance and strength of our technology, and the evolving industry and competitive landscape, we believe that now is the right time to explore strategic alternatives."
The formation of the committee has also meant the departure of board member Prem Watsa who is also chairman and CEO of Fairfax Financial. Fairfax Financial is BlackBerry's biggest shareholder, and Watsa said he felt he should resign due to potential conflicts that may arise during the process.
JP Morgans is serving as an adviser but BlackBerry has been clear that the formation of the committee and the announcement of its intention to explore strategic alternatives for the company do not guarantee a transaction. What's more, the company has no plans to disclose any further developments.