Mike Lazaridis cuts stake in BlackBerry to under 5%

Regulatory filing shows that the BlackBerry co-founder has dropped pursuit to buy the company

Financial trends and news by Steven Loeb
December 26, 2013
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/33fb

Back when BlackBerry took itself off the market, dumped its CEO and installed a new management team, I thought that it was a given that none of the companies, or individuals, who had expressed any interest in buying the company were, frankly, out of luck.

I guess there was some lingering doubt out there, though, about whether or not someone still might try to take over BlackBerry, so now it has been made official: BlackBerry co-founder Mike Lazaridis is no longer looking to take back control of his old company.

Lazaridis, along with fellow company co-founder Douglas Fregin, were among those that were rumored to be interested in buying the company. The two even went so far as to file with the SEC, disclosing their intentions. 

But now a new regulatory filing from earlier this week shows that Lazaridis and Fregin have since ended their partnership, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.

On top of that, Lazaridis has also significantly reduced his ownership stake in the company, from 8% in October to just 4.99% currently. Translation: he really has no more interest in being in charge of BlackBerry.

VatorNews has reached out to BlackBerry for comment and we will update if we learn more.

BlackBerry's 2013

Honestly, I thought that the issue was already settled in November, after BlackBerry seemed to finally put its head down and forge ahead with new management.

BlackBerry first put itself up for sale in August. In addition to Lazaridis, there were a number of parties that were reported to have been interested in buying the company, including Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Bain Capital, and Chinese smartphone and computer maker Lenovo Group. Reports also surfaced that Google, SAP and Cisco were interested.

BlackBerry accepted a proposed $9 a share offer from a consortium led by Fairfax Financial Holdings, which would have amounted to a $4.7 billion buyout, Fairfax, though, had trouble finding banks willing to put up the money.

So, instead, Fairfax along with a group of other investors, decided to put $1 billion into BlackBerry, rather than buying it. In addition, CEO Thorsten Heins was forced out, in favor of former Sybase CEO Jon Chen, who was also appointed as the Executive Chair of BlackBerry’s board of directors.

Since then, Chen has been putting his mark on the company, kicking out a slew of old executives and putting in new hires from his days at Sybase and SAP.

Chen seems like the job is his to lose now, and I thought it was simply a given at this point that Lazaridis, and everyone else, were no longer in the running to be in charge.

(Image source: http://richinspirationz.blogspot.com)