BlackBerry has announced new plans for its future. Instead of being bought by Fairfax Financial Holdings - a deal that needed to be finalised today - it’s aiming to raise $1 billion (£627 million) from investors, with a quarter of that money coming from Fairfax Financial. The transaction is expected to be completed within two weeks.
When that’s in place, former Sybase CEO John Chen will be appointed Executive Chair of BlackBerry’s Board of Directors and Interim CEO. Prem Watsa, Chairman and CEO of Fairfax, will be appointed Lead Director and Chair of the Compensation, Nomination and Governance Committee.
BlackBerry’s current CEO Thorsten Heins, who’s been in the role since January last year, will resign from the board and step down from his position when the deal has been completed.
Barbara Stymiest, who chairs BlackBerry’s board, said “Today’s announcement represents a significant vote of confidence in BlackBerry and its future by this group of preeminent, long-term investors. The BlackBerry Board conducted a thorough review of strategic alternatives and pursued the course of action that it concluded is in the best interests of BlackBerry and its constituents, including its shareholders. This financing provides an immediate cash injection on terms favorable to BlackBerry, enhancing our substantial cash position. Some of the most important customers in the world rely on BlackBerry and we are implementing the changes necessary to strengthen the company and ensure we remain a strong and innovative partner for their needs.”
The company started looking at strategic alternatives in August and later announced plans to cut 40% of its staff.