BlackBerry could be sold off after senior management launched a special committee to examine the best way forward for the company.
The company said the special committee has been formed to increase its value and accelerate sales of its BlackBerry 10 operating system. The company surprised investors by posting a loss in its most recent trading quarter and has seen its sales overtaken by Nokia's Lumia portfolio. As well as a potential sale, BlackBerry will examine the potential of joint ventures, strategic partnerships or alliances, 'or other possible transactions'.
The committee includes BlackBerry chairman Barbara Stymiest, CEO Thorsten Heins and board directors Richard Lynch and Bert Nordberg. Prem Watsa, the CEO of BlackBerry's biggest shareholder Fairfax Financial, announced he was stepping down from the board to avoid any potential conflicts.
The news that BlackBerry is open to offers could revive speculation that Chinese manufacturers Huawei and Lenovo could make a move for the company. Both businesses have been linked with a possible takeover of the Canadian smartphone maker in the past.
While BlackBerry has traditionally had a strong following in the UK, with it one of the launch territories for the BB10 devices, retailers have been privately critical of the manufacturer. They said it needs to move quicker to populate its app store, up its marketing spend and become more aggressive on pricing handsets.
Thorsten Heins said: 'We continue to see compelling long-term opportunities for BlackBerry 10, we have exceptional technology that customers are embracing, we have a strong balance sheet and we are pleased with the progress that has been made in our transition. As the special committee focuses on exploring alternatives, 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.'
Author: Graeme Neill