BlackBerry attempts to save dwindling business

This move is seen as a way to boost value and accelerate the deployment of BlackBerry 10.

New Statesman
Thorsten Heins at the launch of BlackBerry 10 mobile platform. Credit: Getty Images.

The Canadian phone manufacturer BlackBerry has appointed a special panel to explore various options including its sale, as part of its strategy to turn around the fortunes of the dwindling smartphone business.

This move is also seen as a way to boost value and accelerate the deployment of BlackBerry 10, which is considered vital in gaining a strong foothold in the smartphone market.

The committee, which will be chaired by Timothy Dattels, will include board members Barbara Stymiest, Thorsten Heins, Richard Lynch and Bert Nordberg.

Other alternatives include forging strategic alliances and forming a joint venture.

Meanwhile, the company’s largest shareholder Fairfax Financial has denied selling its shares. 

The struggling handset maker said the committee may or may not reach any conclusion related to sale.

Prospective firms that may bid for BlackBerry include HTC, Samsung, Microsoft, Amazon, and Lenovo.

Compared to Samsung, Apple and Google, the company could not make a significant dent in the smartphone market in the recent times, even though its phones are still preferred by governments worldover due to their high end security features.

In Janaury 2012, it launched BlackBerry 10 model, but it failed to attract customers as the high end smartphone category was already at the point of saturation, especially in markets such as the US.

Thorsten Heins, president and CEO of BlackBerry, said: “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.”

The company, formerly called Research in Motion, further said that any conclusion of the committee needs approval of the board.

JP Morgan Securities has been roped in to act as financial advisor to the company, while Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, and Torys will serve as legal advisors.

The appointment of special committee didn’t impact the company’s shares as they closed at $10.78, registering a 10 per cent growth.