BlackBerry has hinted it might put itself up for sale after the long-awaited debut of its new phones failed to turn around the struggling smartphone maker. The Canadian company said on Monday that its board has formed a special committee to explore “strategic alternatives” in hopes of enhancing the company’s value and boosting adoption of its BlackBerry 10 platform.
The company said its options could also include joint ventures, partnerships, or other moves.
The Canadian company’s US-traded stock jumped 9,6 percent to $10,70 in afternoon trading on Monday.
The strategic review will be headed by Timothy Dattels, who joined BlackBerry’s board last year and is a senior partner at TPG Capital, one of the world’s largest private equity firms.
The BlackBerry, pioneered in 1999, had been the dominant smartphone for on-the-go business people and other consumers before Apple debuted the iPhone in 2007 and showed that phones can handle much more than email and phone calls.
Since then BlackBerry Ltd has been hammered by competition from the iPhone as well as Android-based rivals.
In January, the company unveiled new phones running a revamped operating system called BlackBerry 10 designed to better compete. But its market share continues to lag, and the company warned in June of future losses.
Mike Walkley, an analyst with Canaccord Genuity, said sales are getting worse even with price reductions for the new phones.
“Now they have to go to the next step of what’s best for the company and shareholders to survive long term because it doesn’t look promising on BlackBerry 10 sales,’’ Walkley said.
Monday’s announcement marks the second time BlackBerry has said it has hired bankers to help weigh its options since Thorsten Heins became CEO in early 2012.
The company faced numerous delays modernising its operating system with the BlackBerry 10. During that time, it had to cut more than 5 000 jobs, and shareholder wealth declined by more than $70 billion.
Heins had said then he was not actively looking to sell BlackBerry, but wanted to be prepared given the challenging environment.
He ended up focusing on launching BlackBerry 10 this year, but the company warned in June of future losses. — Al Jazeera.
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