BlackBerry Monday said it has abandoned its attempt to go private and instead will take $1 billion in convertible debt financing from Fairfax Financial and other investors. BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins also will step down and be replaced by former Sybase CEO John Chen on an interim basis, the company said.
Fairfax Financial had been working to raise $4.7 billion in a bid for the ailing smartphone manufacturer. Monday's news brings an end to that bid as well as to BlackBerry's strategic review process, which began in August.
A statement from Barbara Stymiest, chair of BlackBerry's board of directors, read: "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."
Chen also will be appointed chairman of the company, according to BlackBerry, Waterloo, Ontario. After 15 years as the head of Sybase, Chen stepped down in October 2012 when the company was acquired by SAP. Chen is credited with overseeing Sybase's expansion into mobile computing and mobile infrastructure solutions.
BlackBerry also said Prem Watsa, CEO of Fairfax Financial, will be appointed as the lead director and chair of the Compensation, Nomination and Governance Committee. BlackBerry board member David Kerr will depart the company along with Heins.
PUBLISHED NOV. 4, 2013