BlackBerry has put itself up for sale as it considers how best to take the company forward under intense market pressure from rivals Apple, Google and Microsoft.
Shares in the firm were suspended briefly on the Nasdaq stock exchange before the announcement was made, with BlackBerry then announcing the intention to consider alternatives for the company, which include the possibility of a selloff.
The firm said in a statement: “These alternatives could include, among others, possible joint ventures, strategic partnerships or alliances, a sale of the Company or other possible transactions."
The Special Committee of the Board includes current chief executive Thorsten Heins and he said that considering all options for the company was the best long-term decision.
“As the Special Committee focuses on exploring alternatives, we will be continuing with our strategy of reducing cost, driving efficiency and accelerating the deployment of BES 10,” he said.
Financial services firm JP Morgan will advise the company during the process.
The decision comes after years of decline for BlackBerry, which only as recently as 2006 held dominance in the mobile sphere as its line of Qwerty devices dominated the market. BlackBerry was especially popular in the business world, where the term CrackBerry was coined for message-obsessed executives.
However, the rise of Apple’s iPhone and a fading brand desire for BlackBerry caught the company out, with co-chief executives Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis failing to turn the firm around. They were eventually replaced by current CEO Heins.
Heins has overseen the launch of the BB10 operating system but this has failed to generate much excitement in the market, despite achieving enterprise credentials. On the other hand, iPhone devices and Samsung’s Galaxy range proved more enticing and achieved similar specifications.
BlackBerry's decision to put itself up for sale could well be the final chapter in the firm’s history, or it may be hoping to follow the path chosen by Michael Dell by trying to take the company private in a bid to turn things around, free from the glare of markets and investors.
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