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BlackBerry Abandons Plans to Go Private, Heins Out as CEO

Mon, 11/04/2013 - 9:15am
Ben Munson

BlackBerry’s tentative deal to take the company private is dead and the company now will seek to raise $1 billion in funding while replacing CEO Thorsten Heins and certain board members.

The Globe and Mail reports that Fairfax Financial’s $4.7 billion deal to take BlackBerry private is now off. Fairfax was on deadline to finish its due diligence today. The deal was originally announced in late September.

Now instead of looking for potential buyers, BlackBerry has raised approximately $1 billion by selling convertible notes to Fairfax and other investors. BlackBerry will also part ways with Heins, who took over as CEO in early 2012, as well as some member of its boards. John S. Chen will take over as CEO in the interim while the company looks for Heins' replacement. Fairfax CEO Prem Watsa will take over as Lead Director and Chair of the Compensation, Nomination and Governance Committee and Heins and David Kerr will step down from BlackBerry's board.

BlackBerry had reportedly seen interest from other potential buyers in addition to Fairfax. Former BlackBerry CEO Mike Lazaridis had reportedly been raising funds for a buyout offer and BlackBerry had reportedly met with Google, Qualcomm, Facebook and others to discuss possible piecemeal sales of the carrier.

The potential Fairfax deal valued BlackBerry at around $9 per share. As of 8:08 a.m. CT, shares are down more than 17 percent in pre-market trading, dropping shares to around $6.41.

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