Following rumours in the last few days that BlackBerry may be forced to sell itself in order to recover after a difficult year, it has been confirmed today that the Canadian smartphone maker is now seeking a sale deal.
A special board committee formed to examine what a press release deemed as ‘strategic alternatives’ is also being supported by representatives from financial services firm JP Morgan as the company searches for any potential buyers. Prem Watsa, chairman of BlackBerry’s largest shareholder, Fairfax Financial, resigned from the board citing that, despite his support of the plan, there had been a conflict of interests. Fairfax is itself considered as a potential buyer, with the Toronto-based private equity funder avoiding the issues faced by buyers overseas. With BlackBerry providing its devices to governments and businesses due to advanced security features, the Canadian government may attempt to keep the company within Canadian borders.
BlackBerry’s shares were frozen preceding the announcement, but reopened later to rise 9.4 percent in per-market trading in New York. The BlackBerry 10 operating system was released at the start of this year to praise from critics, but has so far failed to halt the company’s decline in popularity, with figures last month showing Microsoft’s Windows Phone outselling Blackberry 10 three-to-one.