BlackBerry never ceases to surprise us. Just when everyone thought Fairfax will buy the Canadian company, the Waterloo based BlackBerry has announced that Fairfax will not be buying, but instead has raised $1 billion in association with other investors to invest in the telecom giant. In the line of fire is the current CEO, Thorsten Heins, who will now be replaced by John Chen as interim CEO.
Back in August this year, BlackBerry had received a letter of intent with Fairfax Financial Holdings to purchase the company for $4.7 Billion. Since then, there were rumors of several new bids coming to BlackBerry, from the likes of Mike Lazaridis, Cerberus & Qualcomm, Facebook, Google and others.
CEO of Fairfax, Prem Watsa, will now be elevated to the post of lead director. The investment will come in the form of a debt sale, with Fairfax itself putting $250 million into the company. The whole deal should come off within the next two weeks.
It’s not clear what’s the official reason behind the departure of Thorsten Heins, who will also relinquish his position as the board director. Heins took charge in January 2012, so he won’t be completing 2 years at the helm of BlackBerry. During his time, BlackBerry announced the BB10 OS and a few BB10 based handsets, none of them managing to make a significant dent in the smartphone market. BlackBerry tried pleasing the consumer crowd with BB10, but instead pissed off many enterprise clients in the process. The introduction of John Chen, who was the former CEO of Sybase, as the interim CEO of BlackBerry should throw some light about where BlackBerry is heading with this latest twist.