BlackBerry CEO Steps Down After Fairfax Takeover Bid Ends

BlackBerry's shares dropped 16 percent; John Chen, former CEO at Sybase, will serve as BlackBerry's executive chairman and acting chief executive.

November 4, 2013

1 Min Read
BlackBerry CEO Steps Down After Fairfax Takeover Bid Ends

By Daniel Santa Cruz

BlackBerry’s CEO is out after a takeover offer from the company’s largest shareholder fell through.

Thorsten Heins will step down as the chief executive officer of the once-great mobile-handset manufacturer, The New York Times reports.

Fairfax Financial Holdings, along with an unnamed group of investors who intended to buy BlackBerry and privatize it, will instead invest $1 billion with the company.

John Chen, the former chief executive officer at Sybase, will serve as BlackBerry’s executive chairman and acting chief executive.

“Fairfax’s investment will buy the company some time, which it badly needs, but the company needs a new strategy more than ever,” said Jan Dawson, chief telecoms analyst at Ovum. “If Fairfax had taken the company private, it would have kept that strategy to itself. But with BlackBerry remaining a public company, Chen and Fairfax Chairman and CEO Prem Watsa need to start communicating that new strategy very soon to inspire confidence in a turnaround.”

Many analysts were skeptical of the $4.7 billion value that Fairfax’s takeover bid placed on the company. Some big-name companies have been mentioned as possible suitors for BlackBerry, but none has shown a clear interest with a bid.

BlackBerry’s stock price rose late last year when carriers had a positive reaction to the company’s new operating system, BB10, as well as its new smartphones the Z10 and the Q10. But $18 per share has dropped steadily since January, falling another 16 percent on Monday to $6.50 per share, its lowest price in a year  after this latest news broke.

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