Adbrands Weekly Update 28th Nov 2013:
Struggling BlackBerry announced the departure of most of the remaining members of its senior management team, following the appointment of John Chen as interim executive chairman. Following former CEO Thorsten Heins out of the revolving door are CFO Brian Bidulka, COO Kristian Tear
and CMO Frank Boulben. James Yersh, previously SVP & controller, was bumped up to CFO. The other two positions may remain empty until Blackberry makes further progress with its turnaround.
Adbrands Weekly Update 7th Nov 2013:
BlackBerry's fortunes took yet another turn for the worse after a proposed buyout by its biggest shareholder Fairfax Financial Holdings fell through. Fairfax remains committed to the business but was unable to raise the funds necessary to complete the deal. With no other willing or
able buyers on the horizon - Lenovo of China was blocked from bidding on security grounds by the Canadian government - BlackBerry abandoned plans for a sale and announced the departure of CEO Thorsten Heins. He will be replaced on an interim basis by John Chen, an experienced technology specialist,
best known for turning around the equally troubled software business SyBase in the early 2000s and negotiating its eventual sale to SAP. BlackBerry's shareholders are betting ( or praying) that Chen's lightning will strike twice. The group solved its immediate cash woes by raising $1bn in
additional capital from Fairfax and other investors, but at the current rate of expenditure this will run out in around a year's time.
Adbrands Weekly Update 17th Oct 2013: Struggling BlackBerry purchased advertising space in 30 newspapers across nine of its biggest markets to reassure customers with an emotional open letter. "You've no doubt seen the headlines about
said the letter, signed by 'the BlackBerry team'. "You're probably wondering what they mean for you as one of the tens of millions of users who count on BlackBerry every single day." The letter goes on to stress that the company is adapting to meet what it calls these "these challenging
times" and continues to have substantial cash reserves and a debt-free balance sheet. "You trust
your BlackBerry to deliver your most important messages, so trust us when we deliver one one of our own: You can continue to count on us."
Adbrands Weekly Update 26th Sep 2013: Blackberry accepted a private buyout by Fairfax Financial Holdings, the investment company that is already its biggest shareholder. That followed the struggling mobile operator's announcement that
it will stop selling phones to ordinary consumers in favour of enterprise customers, resulting in cuts of as much as 40% in staffing levels. It will also write off almost $1bn against unsold inventory of its most recent BlackBerry 10 handset launches. Fairfax said it would pay up to $4.7bn for the
ailing business, subject to due diligence, and its chairman
Prem Watsa promised that the proposed deal would "open an exciting new chapter for BlackBerry, its customers, carriers and employers". That view seems more than a little optimistic. Private ownership might protect BlackBerry from the whips and chains of public shareholders, but it will do
precisely nothing to repair the brand's plunging market share. However it is at least a way of postponing a complete collapse, and BlackBerry retains the option to seek a better offer elsewhere, perhaps from one of the company's fast-growing Chinese rivals, while Fairfax completes its due diligence.
Adbrands Weekly Update 15th Aug 2013: Poor old BlackBerry saw its share of the global smartphone market plunge from 4.9% to 2.9% in 2Q 2013, according to
figures from market-watcher IDC. A few days later, the company effectively acknowledged that its strategy had failed and put itself up for sale, appointing JP Morgan Chase to "explore strategic alternatives". A trade sale may be possible, with Asian buyers such as
or ZTE among the potential bidders. However, any such deal might face turbulence from Canadian regulators. Microsoft too has expressed interest in BlackBerry in the past, but that deal looks unlikely now that the software giant has an expanding alliance with rival manufacturer Nokia. There were
also suggestions that the current group's biggest shareholder, Fairfax Financial Holdings, or another private investor might attempt a private buy-out. However, that ought to be little more than a last resort, since only the support of another major existing manufacturer is likely to help turn
around BlackBerry's market
Which agencies handle advertising for BlackBerry? Find
out more from Adbrands Account Assignments
Who are the competitors of BlackBerry? See Consumer Electronics Index for other
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