|BlackBerry Founders May Try to Buy Back Company|
|By JOANNA STERN (@joannastern)||Oct 11, 2013, 2:40 PM|
It is not a good time for BlackBerry, to say the least.
After reporting a $1 billion loss in the last quarter, announcing that it would be laying off 40 percent of its workforce before the end of the year and then unveiling plans to become a privately held company, there are various reports that some of the top designers and engineers in the company have left and that two of the company's founders may return.
Some of the lead design team, which came from a company that BlackBerry acquired in 2010, let the company after the launch of the BlackBerry 10 software, according to technology website AllThingsD.
The Financial Post has also reported that Apple and Motorola have been looking to poach employees from the company.
But along with a $4.7 billion bid from Fairfax Financial to acquire the company, it appears that the two men who founded BlackBerry -- Mike Lazaridis and Douglas Fregin -- are considering trying to save it. According to a regulatory filing published on Thursday, they are considering "the possibility of submitting a potential joint bid to acquire the Shares of the Issuer that they do not currently own." The two together already own, according to the filing, 8 percent of the company.
Lazaridis helped build BlackBerry in the early 80's in a small office in Waterloo, Canada, and then served as the co-CEO of BlackBerry from 1984 to 2012. He helped grow the company, overseeing the launch of hugely successful phones like the Curve and others, but, as recent articles indicate, he was also the man who was responsible for the fall of the company. Lazaridis, instead of seeing the disruptive nature of the iPhone early on, was core to the strategy of pushing the company's older devices forward and not moving quickly enough to release an improved version of the software for touchscreen phones, according to the articles.
Douglas Fregin worked with Lazaridis to help start RIM in 1984 and was the Vice President of Operations until he retired in 2007.
BlackBerry would not comment on the filing and the future of the company.
"The Special Committee, with the assistance of the Company's independent financial and legal advisors, is conducting a robust and thorough review of strategic alternatives," BlackBerry spokesman Adam Emery said in a statement provided to ABC News. "We do not intend to disclose further developments with respect to the process until we approve a specific transaction or otherwise conclude the review of strategic alternatives."