On Tuesday, December 24th, Mike Lazaridis, a BlackBerry co-founder, reduced his shares of BlackBerry to less than 5%, receiving $26 million US in the process. According to regulatory filings for the sales, Lazaridis sold 3.5 million shares in the smartphone company in two transactions. The first sale occurred on December 23 (3.17 million shares), and the second occurred on December 24 (333,107 shares).
In September, we reported on CWAN that Blackberry’s largest shareholder, Prem Watsa, appeared to be positioning himself to make an offer on the company, and several other private equity firms had shown interest in patents and other intellectual properties held by BlackBerry. Although the company has launched competitive products, such as its BlackBerry Z30, it may not be enough to compete with products like Apple’s iPhone 5s and 5c devices and a handful of similar devices from industry competitors.
A poll to measure readership relationships with BlackBerry conducted by CWAN in conjunction with the article showed the following:
BlackBerry is my primary mobile device and I plan to stay with BlackBerry – (0%)
I owned a BlackBerry in the past, but I have switched – (43%)
BlackBerry is my primary mobile device, but I plan to switch – (29%)
I have never had a BlackBerry, but I am considering switching to BlackBerry – (14%)
Other – (14%)
In October, Lazaridis and Blackberry co-founder Doug Fregin made an effort to bid on the company; however, Fairfax Financial, one of BlackBerry’s largest shareholders, proposed a plan to raise a billion dollars to revive the company instead. BlackBerry hired John Chen as chairman and CEO. Chen led the turnaround actions at Sybase, a database management company, beginning in the late 1990’s.
Sales continue to decline, and BlackBerry reported a Q3 loss of $4.4 billion. However, share price has shown a dramatic rise of 24% following Chen’s announcement of another company modification and the most recent financials were released.