BlackBerry has suspended its shares as the company's board considers its options including selling the company.

BlackBerry Shares Suspended as Board Considers Selling the Comany
BlackBerry pinned its hopes on the Z10 smartphone, but it has failed to be a hit with consumers. (Credit: Reuters)

In what won't be a major surprise to many BlackBerry watchers, the struggling company is looking to change its strategy as it has failed to make a significant impact on the smartphone market depite the launch of a new platform and range of smartphones in 2013.

These alternatives could include, among others, possible joint ventures, strategic partnerships or alliances, a sale of the Company or other possible transactions," said the board in a statement.

A special committee has been formed to "explore strategic alternatives to enhance value and increase scale in order to accelerate BlackBerry 10 deployment."

Among the alternatives the company said it was considering was possible joint ventures, strategic partnerships and even the sale of the company.

The cessation of trading in BlackBerry shares comes just days after a Reuters report suggested the management of the company was looking into taking the company private as it "would give them breathing room to fix its problems out of the public eye."


No timeline has been given by BlackBerry for when the special committee might announce its findings, but the statement did say: "There can be no assurance that this exploration process will result in any transaction."

Thorsten Heins, CEO of BlackBerry, said the setting up of the special committee wasn't an admission of defeat: "We continue to see compelling long-term opportunities for BlackBerry 10, we have exceptional technology that customers are embracing, we have a strong balance sheet and we are pleased with the progress that has been made in our transition.

"As the Special Committee focuses on exploring alternatives, we will be continuing with our strategy of reducing cost, driving efficiency and accelerating the deployment of BES 10, as well as driving adoption of BlackBerry 10 smartphones, launching the multi-platform BBM social messaging service, and pursuing mobile computing opportunities by leveraging the secure and reliable BlackBerry Global Data Network."

Smartphone landscape

BlackBerry's market value has fallen from its peak of $84 billion (£54bn) in 2008 to just $4.8bn now, as the company was caught wrong-footed by the launch of the iPhone in 2007, leading to changes in the smartphone landscape which it was unable to keep up with.

Last week the latest figures from research firm IDC showed that BlackBerry held less than 3% of the smartphone market in the second quarter of 2013, down from almost 5% the previous year.

Following the announcement of the setting up of the Special Committee, Prem Watsa, chairman and CEO of BlackBerry's largest shareholder Fairfax Financial informed the company he felt it was appropriate to resign due to potential conflicts that may arise during the process.

Mr. Watsa said, "I continue to be a strong supporter of the Company, the Board and Management as they move forward during this process, and Fairfax Financial has no current intention of selling its shares."

The Special Committee of the Board is comprised of Barbara Stymiest, Thorsten Heins, Richard Lynch and Bert Nordberg, and will be chaired by Timothy Dattels.