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Fairfax's $4.7 billion acquisition of BlackBerry is off the table, CEO Thorsten Heins steps down
Fairfax Financial Holdings’ $4.7 billion deal to purchase struggling handset maker BlackBerry is off the table today. What’s more, BlackBerry chief Thorsten Heins has stepped down and is being replaced by interim CEO John Chen.
Instead of purchasing the company outright, Fairfax will instead lead a group of investors willing to put forth $1 billion to try and right the ship. Specifically, the investment will come through a debt sale although Fairfax will inject $250 million personally into the company.
In a statement on the matter, current BlackBerry chair Barbara Stymiest said the board conducted a thorough review of strategic options and pursued the course of action that they believe is in the best interest of BlackBerry and its constituents and shareholders. She further noted that today’s announcement represents a significant vote of confidence in the company and its future by the group of preeminent, long-term investors.
Interim CEO John Chen most recently helped turn around Sybase, a company that found itself in a situation not unlike BlackBerry’s at one point. He has extensive experience in the mobile sector which is expected to be an asset to the company until a permanent replacement can be found. Stymiest noted as much in the aforementioned statement.
He will also now serve as executive chair of BlackBerry’s board. Combined, that’s an awful lot of responsibility and power to take on at once.
Share value in BlackBerry has plunged nearly 16 percent on the news. As of writing, it sits at $6.55 per share.
The BlackBerry Z10 is the latest flagship from BlackBerry, it runs the new BlackBerry 10 OS and packs a 4.2"- 1280 x 768 screen (356 PPI). Inside is a dual core 1.5GHz processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage expandable through microSD, rear (8MP) and front (2MP) cameras, connectivity options like Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC.
The BlackBerry Q10 is part of the new "10" family of BlackBerry running it's BB10. The Q10 carries a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 2GB of system memory, 8-megapixel camera and 16GB of flash memory. The QWERTY board takes up plenty of real estate which only leaves room for a 3.1-inch AMOLED screen operating at 720 x 720 pixels.
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