BlackBerry Co-founders Lazaridis, Fregin Consider Buyout


Mike Lazaridis and Douglas Fregin, the co-founders of BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) are considering all available options including a possible buyout of all the outstanding shares of the struggling Canadian smartphone manufacturer, based on their regulatory filing with Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Based on the filing, Lazaridis and Fregin together own 41,680, 073 million share or 8% stake in BlackBerry and they are considering a joint bid to acquire the shares of the company that they do not currently own. The co-founders’ main objective is to stabilize and ultimately reinvent the company based on the plan they developed

Lazaridis and Fregin engaged the services of Goldman Sachs & Co., Center View Partners LLC to help review strategic alternatives. The co-founders of signed an agreement to work together on any possible proposal for BlackBerry.

A consortium of investors led by Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd (TSE:FFH) (OTCMKTS:FRFHF), the largest shareholder of BlackBerry submitted a proposal to acquire and take the smartphone manufacturer for $4.7 billion or $9 per share.  Prem Watsa controls Fairfax Financial and his firm is currently seeking for partners to finance the takeover.

Lazaridis and Fregin might compete with Fairfax Financial’s bid or they might also consider joining the group. Cerberus Capital Management is also interested to acquire BlackBerry. According to sources, the private equity firm wants to sign a confidentiality agreement with BlackBerry to access the financial documents of smartphone manufacturer.

BlackBerry spokesperson Lisette Kwong said the special committee of the smartphone manufacturer continues to review alternatives. According to her, “We do not intend to disclose further developments with respect to the process until we approve a specific transaction or otherwise conclude the review of strategic alternatives.”

The board of directors of BlackBerry decided to explore strategic alternatives including a sale after the company’s BlackBerry 10 devices failed to attract consumers and regain market share in the smartphone market.

Blackberry recorded a huge loss of $965 million or $1.84 per share in the second quarter. Its revenue declined from $2.9 billion in the same quarter a year ago to $1.6 billion. BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins said the company is still financially stable with $2.6 billion cash and no debt.

The shares of BlackBerry gained 1.11% to $8.20 a share on Thursday at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). The trading price of the company is still lower than the $9 per share offer of Fairfax Financial.