BlackBerry latest: $1bn investment in, Thorsten Heins out

BlackBerry latest: bn investment in, Thorsten Heins out

BlackBerry has decided to pass on the proposed $4.7bn takeover by Fairfax Holdings and will instead receive a $1bn investment package from Fairfax and a group of other existing investors.

The shake-up will see current CEO Thorsten Heins stepping down to be replaced by interim boss John S Chen, who will also take on the role of Executive Chair of BlackBerry's board.

The proposed Fairfax buyout was first announced at the end of September, with today the agreed deadline for terms to be finalised. But that deal has looked increasingly in doubt as the weeks have gone by, and BlackBerry has made it clear it was still open to other ideas, including being sold off in parts.

Today's announcement puts an end to the speculation, and while there will no doubt be significant changes to the company's direction, it does mean BlackBerry as we know it continues as is.

Heins has been at the helm of the Canadian firm for nearly two years now, the first year of which was spent dramatically cutting back on the company's spending while finalising the all-new BlackBerry 10 platform.

It was a risky move, as it meant a whole year without any new BlackBerry handsets, and nine months after the unveiling of the first BB10 smartphone, the BlackBerry Z10, it's fair to say the gamble hasn't paid off.

So no surprise to see Heins making way. With a change of direction normally comes a change of leadership. Chen apparently managed to turn around the fortunes of Sybase, another troubled tech firm that turned to his leadership, so BB will be hoping for more of the same here.

He has his work cut out to convince investors, though. On the back of today's developments BlackBerry's share price dropped nearly 20% in pre-market trading.

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JanSt / MOD  Nov. 5, 2013 at 13:25

1 billion? 1 billion? It'll take 2 billion to assess what to do with 1 billion!


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