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BlackBerry privatization bid fails, Thorsten Heins out as CEO

Posted: , by Michael H.

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BlackBerry privatization bid fails, Thorsten Heins out as CEO
About six weeks ago, the news came down that troubled Canadian company BlackBerry had agreed to a $4.7 billion deal from Fairfax Financial which would make the company private once again. The move would mean the company could work on rebuilding its lost market share outside of public scrutiny, but that deal never completely ended the rumors that BlackBerry was looking to sell the company, even in part.

But, today's deadline for Fairfax Financial to officially put in a bid has passed because apparently Fairfax couldn't find the partners necessary to finalize the deal; and, now we're learning that the plans are changing. It turns out that rather than purchase the failing company stock to privatize, Fairfax is going to lead a group of investors which will supply BlackBerry with a $1 billion investment. Fairfax will supply $250 million of the investment, which will come in the form of a debt sale. 

Also part of the new plan is to remove Thorsten Heins as CEO and make some changes to the BlackBerry board of directors. Heins has only been CEO since the beginning of 2012, and his time has not inspired confidence even with the launch of BlackBerry 10. The $1 billion investment should be completed within the next two weeks at which point Heins will be out and John Chen will take over as interim CEO and executive chairman of the board. Current BlackBerry chair Barbara Stymiest said of the new plan:
Today’s announcement represents a significant vote of confidence in BlackBerry and its future by this group of preeminent, long-term investors. 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 favorable to BlackBerry, enhancing our substantial cash position. Some of the most important customers in the world rely on BlackBerry and we are implementing the changes necessary to strengthen the company and ensure we remain a strong and innovative partner for their needs.

13 Comments
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posted on 04 Nov 2013, 08:09 2

1. Diego! (Posts: 474; Member since: 15 Jun 2009)


So, with Thorsten Heins out, they will create a new version of their OS? Oh no... not again! I hope they polish BB10 in order to get more people to get attracted to it.

Let's wait and see. On the other hand, bring ASAP BBMessenger to WP8! :D

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 09:09

4. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5289; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


As CNBC analyst (and successful investor) Jim Cramer observed: "This feels a lot like a desperation move."

posted on 05 Nov 2013, 22:56

13. rdaex (Posts: 56; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)


And hes NEVER wrong

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 10:27

10. Tommy1960i (Posts: 92; Member since: 11 Oct 2013)


May be they want to partner with google to introduce an BB OS wich will run android apps and games natively plus some more options. I dont think that BB10 or 11 or next one will succed because of the number and quality of the apps. Android or WP is their last chance.

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 08:29 1

2. E.S.1 (Posts: 286; Member since: 14 Sep 2013)


And they have to cut their prices in half so people start paying attention to their products.

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 08:53 2

3. WestFiasco (Posts: 12; Member since: 29 May 2013)


The price of the Z10 is what made me go to Android when it was time for an upgrade from my then current Blackberry. It just didn't seem worth the price they were asking when better was available for either less or a bit more.

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 09:21 1

6. residualhatred (Posts: 23; Member since: 28 May 2012)


I would have honestly brought the Q10 if it was priced cheaper. As a backup phone, it would be great to try. Blackberry was hoping all of its loyal customers who left would come back without hesitation. Now Im looking to a Nokia.

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 09:48

7. WestFiasco (Posts: 12; Member since: 29 May 2013)


Bad choices, we all make them. Some with lasting effects others not so much, time will truly tell just which side blackberry's choices truly reside on.

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 09:16

5. InspectorGadget80 (Posts: 5649; Member since: 26 Mar 2011)


This idiot should of been gone when bb was failing.

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 09:49 1

8. slaggyb (Posts: 167; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)


I hope the new interim CEO John Chen as the name sounds Korean don't end up using android on blackberry because he is sammy's brother. Now were is Allan F? He stopped reporting and gave this to Micheal H.

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 10:27 1

9. Doakie (Posts: 867; Member since: 06 May 2009)


Funny you say that. Because if Blackberry spent time making a heavy Blackberry skin atop Android instead of buying QNX and building their own OS then now being faced with the DAUNTING task of building their own Ecosystem they probably wouldn't be in the same horrible shape they are now. Plus they could have come to market way earlier than they did.

Let's say they decided to make a secure version of Android for the corporate sector kinda like how the govt has built their own secure version of Android. Even if they left Play Services behind like Amazon did to be able to ensure secure apps, they could have opened their own Blackberry Android Appstore and monetized off of that. Not to mention developers wouldn't have to start from scratch to develop for BlackBerry they'd just have to remove dependence upon the Play Services framework and submit their app for BlackBerry approval. The corporate and govt world would have been in their hands again, not to mention any qwerty loving Android fans. If the multitasking skin is what you like I'm sure they could have done that if they had thoroughly re skinned Android. Look at how differently the Kindle Fire works.

Honestly I think this method I've just mentioned would have been the Saving Grace for BlackBerry, Nokia Symbian and Palm/HP webOS. Each of those companies should have taken free to use AOSP and built a skin atop it that stuck with their own design parameters; that would have appeased their loyal customers who loved their UI and it would have made developing for their platform as easy as getting app approval. Plus money wise it would have been the cheapest route.

But then again I'm not a CEO. What do I know?

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 10:58

11. theuwilliam (Posts: 4; Member since: 10 Jun 2013)


I have to say, I really like your idea. I'm not sure if that would be feasible, but that would be a good route for Blackberry to move forward with. +1!

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 11:26

12. slaggyb (Posts: 167; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)


The world doesn't revolve around android and not every OEM should go android reskinned or not. The world will be a boring place if the was no blackberry or windows OS. Not everybody wants android and am included. I have been using blackberry from the bold 9000 and have used all the high end bolds until recently the Q10. I have used all samsung flagship from the galaxy s2 to the note 2 which I still own and it's just collecting dust in my room. For me nothing beats blackberry I am a business guy always on the move and my blackberry has always done everything required of it.

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