BlackBerry reviewing strategic alternatives for its portfolio of businesses
By Tara Deschamps, The Canadian PressElectronics General
Once iconic company says it’s reviewing the possibility of separating one or more of its businesses.
BlackBerry Ltd. has launched a review of strategic alternatives for its portfolio of businesses that could see the company break up its operations.
The Waterloo, Ont.-based firm that has transformed from a mobile phone goliath to a security company announced the start of the review late Monday, saying it was aimed at driving enhanced “shareholder value.”
The alternatives the business is considering “include, but are not limited to, the possible separation of one or more of BlackBerry’s businesses,” the company said in a news release.
News of the review pushed BlackBerry’s share price up almost nine per cent or 47 cents to $5.73 in early trading Tuesday.
“Although we expect achievement of this plan to deliver significant shareholder benefits, we do not believe that this is fully reflected in the market’s current valuation of the company,” John Chen, BlackBerry’s executive chairman and chief executive, said in a statement.
“Accordingly, the board and management believe it is an appropriate time to initiate a comprehensive review of the company’s portfolio.”
BlackBerry warned the board has not set a timetable for completing the review, which will be led by Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC and Perella Weinberg Partners. It added there can be no assurance that the process will result in any transaction.
The review comes as BlackBerry has been looking to restore interest in the company, which has attracted little fanfare since Apple attracted customers away with its screen iPhone.
The company has been focused on its software and security services, including its QNX business, which is focused on the automotive sector, but licensed its brand to phone manufacturers TCL and OnwardMobility.
It decommissioned several of its phone services last year, advising customers to expect their BlackBerry mobile devices would stop reliably working.
BlackBerry revealed in March it would sell its non-core patents and patent applications to Malikie Innovations Limited, a subsidiary of intellectual property monetization company Key Patent Innovations Limited. The cash and royalties deal was valued at up to US$900 million.
The portfolio being sold includes about 32,000 patents and applications relating primarily to mobile devices, messaging and wireless networking.
The deal has yet to close and is conditional upon BlackBerry and Malikie satisfying regulatory conditions.
In its most recent quarter, BlackBerry, which reports in U.S. dollars, had a net loss of US$495 million, compared with a profit of US$144 million a year earlier.
The company attributed the loss in what was its fourth quarter primarily to a US$476-million non-cash, goodwill and long-lived asset impairment charge that affected its operating income.
Revenue for the quarter was US$151 million, down from US$185 million a year earlier.
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