BlackBerry halts sale, sacks CEO

Fairfax Financial Holdings no longer to purchase mobile maker
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The CEO of BlackBerry is to step down as the mobile manufacturer abandons its plan for a buyout.

Thorsten Heins will step down as the former Sybase chief executive John Chen takes over as interim chief executive.

The previously reported sale of BlackBerry to its largest shareholder, Fairfax Financial Holdings, for $4.7 billion (£2.94 billion), has been halted, and instead, the struggling company will attempt to raise $1 billion (£627 million) in financing, $250 million (£156.54 million) of which will be provided by Fairfax.

“Today’s announcement represents a significant vote of confidence in BlackBerry and its future by this group of preeminent, long-term investors,” said Barbara Stymiest, chair of BlackBerry’s board in a statement.

“The BlackBerry Board conducted a thorough review of strategic alternatives and pursued the course of action that it concluded is in the best interests of BlackBerry and its constituents, including its shareholders.”

“This financing provides an immediate cash injection on terms favourable to BlackBerry, enhancing our substantial cash position.”

“Fairfax is a long-time supporter, investor and partner to BlackBerry and, with this investment, reinforces its deep commitment to the future success of this company,” commented Prem Watsa, chairman and CEO of Fairfax.

“I look forward to rejoining the BlackBerry Board and to working with the other directors and management team, under John Chen’s leadership, to shape the next stage of BlackBerry’s strategy and growth.”

“I am pleased to join a company with as much potential as BlackBerry,” said Chen.

“BlackBerry is an iconic brand with enormous potential – but it’s going to take time, discipline and tough decisions to reclaim our success. I look forward to leading BlackBerry in its turnaround and business model transformation for the benefit of all of its constituencies, including its customers, shareholders and employees.”

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