BlackBerry Ltd founders looking at buying company

Oct 11 2013, 10:57 IST
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Mike Lazaridis and co-founder Douglas Fregin are weighing taking over the BlackBerry as it searches for a saviour. (AP) Mike Lazaridis and co-founder Douglas Fregin are weighing taking over the BlackBerry as it searches for a saviour. (AP)
SummaryMike Lazaridis and Douglas Fregin currently own 8 per cent in the distressed smartphone company.

up and fed to the vultures."

And Lazaridis has a reputation to protect. He has long been celebrated as a Canadian business hero, even appearing in the country's citizenship guide for new immigrants as a model of success.

A spokesman for Lazaridis, who owns about 5.7 percent of BlackBerry, said he would not comment beyond the filing. Fregin helped Lazaridis found the company formerly known as Research In Motion and served as vice president of operations before he left. The filling said the goal is "stabilizing and ultimately reinventing the company based on a plan developed by them."

The stock didn't rise much Thursday because it was widely expected that Lazaridis might make a bid, Gillis added.

The head of Fairfax, Prem Watsa, has also said he's not interested in buying BlackBerry to break it apart and that he wants to see it survive and exist in Canada.

Watsa and Lazaridis are friends - Lazaridis recruited Watsa to join BlackBerry's board when he stepped down as co-CEO in January 2012. It remains to be seen whether the two team up on a bid, Gillis said. Watsa told The Associated Press last month that Lazaridis was not involved when Fairfax made its conditional bid.

"The Special Committee, with the assistance of the company's independent financial and legal advisers, is conducting a robust and thorough review of strategic alternatives. We do not intend to disclose further developments with respect to the process until we approve a specific transaction or otherwise conclude the review of strategic alternatives," BlackBerry spokeswoman Lisette Kwong said in an emailed statement. She declined to comment on the filling by Lazaridis and Fregin.

Although BlackBerry was once Canada's most valuable company with a market value of $83 billion in June 2008, the stock has plummeted to less than $9 from over $140 a share. That gives it a market value of about $4.2 billion.

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