|BlackBerry Abandons Sale Plans|
|By JOANNA STERN (@joannastern)||Nov 4, 2013, 9:04 AM|
No, neither Facebook nor Lenovo nor its founders will be buying embattled BlackBerry. Instead the company announced Monday morning that it will remain public and will receive a $1 billion investment from Fairfax Financial Holdings, which had originally made a $4.7 billion bid to take the company private.
As a part of the deal, CEO Thorsten Heins will depart and changes will be made to BlackBerry's board. John Chen, the former chief of Sybase Inc., will become the interim CEO and executive chairman of the board. Chen will be involved in the search for the next CEO.
"I am pleased to join a company with as much potential as BlackBerry," Chen said in a statement. "BlackBerry is an iconic brand with enormous potential - but it's going to take time, discipline and tough decisions to reclaim our success."
The statement is reminiscent of what Heins had said in January 2012, when he replaced BlackBerry co-founders Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis as CEO. Heins hoped the company's new BlackBerry 10 software and the new phones that ran the software, released in March 2013, would give the lift it needed to compete with Apple's iPhone and the vast number of Android phones.
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"In a mature market, to be everyone's darling doesn't work. Apple has its position, Samsung has its position and BlackBerry has its position, and I am rebuilding BlackBerry's position," Heins told ABC News during the BlackBerry 10 launch.
However, his efforts to rebuild faltered. As of the end of the third quarter of 2013, BlackBerry's smartphone market share had shrunk to 1.5 percent, according to ABI Research. In 2008, Blackberry had a 19.5 share of the smartphone market and was valued at $68 billion.
Blackberry's shares fell 11 percent today on the no-sale news, giving the Canadian company a market value of just $3.5 billion.
In the third quarter of this year, the company only shipped 2.7 million of its new BlackBerry 10 devices. Contrast that with Apple, which sold nine million iPhones in just the opening launch weekend.
The company reported in September a $1 billion loss and its plans to slash jobs by 40 percent.
However, the company has had better traction in the last few weeks with its software business. Its BlackBerry Messenger app for iPhone and Android phones has received over 10 million downloads since being released Oct. 21.