Blackberry Mulls Going Private But May Have Hard Time Finding Buyer After Woeful Year

on August 09 2013 8:36 AM
BlackBerrys
RIM's BlackBerry phones have lost market share since the iPhone came out in 2007. Research in Motion

Smartphone maker BlackBerry Ltd (TSE:BB) is thinking about going private as CEO Thorsten Heins and his board of directors contemplate a restructuring unencumbered by public scrutiny and mandated disclosures, according to reports Friday.

Reuters, reporting on Friday, cited several unnamed sources familiar with the situation who explained that the company hasn’t actively started a sales process or targeted potential buyers.

BlackBerry declined to comment to Reuters.

Still, the company may find it hard to find interested buyers among private equity firms or others. BlackBerry shares have fallen more than 19 percent in 2013 so far. Blackberry's current $9.23 share price is well off its 52-week high of $18.32 and the company’s market value has plunged from $84 billion in 2008 to $4.8 billion now.

Recently, company executives pinned their hopes on the BlackBerry 10 operating system, with a new line of devices set for launch in the next eight months. They’ve also explored licensing BlackBerry 10 software to boost revenues.

But prospects for BlackBerry don’t seem too bright. BlackBerry 10 sales have already fallen short of the expectations of some analysts. 

In the latest quarter, the company shipped 6.8 million smartphones. That compares to Apple Inc.’s (Nasdaq:AAPL) sales of 31 million iPhones in their latest quarter.

Canadian regulators would also have to approve any private takeover bid of the Ontario BlackBerry company, clearing any deal of anticompetitive and national security concerns.

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