BlackBerry's board announces it's open to selling the company

The smartphone maker's shares were halted just minutes before it announced it would form a committee to explore, among others, joint ventures, partnerships and alliances, or even a sale of the company.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor
BlackBerry chief executive Thorsten Heins asked for patience during the company's turnaround.
Image: CNET

BlackBerry's board announced on Monday it has formed a special committee that could ultimately lead to a sale of the company.

Just before the news was announced, the smartphone maker's shares were halted on the Nasdaq stock exchange in New York.

In a statement, the committee will be tasked with "explor[ing] strategic alternatives to enhance value and increase scale in order to accelerate BlackBerry 10 deployment."

"These alternatives could include, among others, possible joint ventures, strategic partnerships or alliances, a sale of the Company or other possible transactions," the company statement added.

The board will consist of some members of senior management, including BlackBerry chairman Barbara Stymiest and chief executive Thorsten Heins.

Heins said the company will continue to focus on "reducing cost, driving efficiency and accelerating the deployment of BES 10, as well as driving adoption of BlackBerry 10 smartphones."

JP Morgan will act as financial advisor to the committee. The company said that it does not guarantee any transaction will come of this, and that this was an "exploration process."

It comes amid earlier rumbles and rumors that the smartphone maker was going private.

Sources speaking to Reuters, which first reported the story last week, claimed while no decisions had been made at the time, the firm's board was "warming" to the idea of going private in efforts to privately deal with its dwindling market position.

Shares in BlackBerry ($BBRY) were up by more than 5 percent at market close on Friday on rumors that the company's board was looking more favorably on the idea that it could drum up equity and investor support to pull itself from the stock market. 

In pre-market trading on Monday, shares were up by more than 1 percent.

In other terms, BlackBerry will now begin the process of determining whether it can go it alone in the smartphone space, or if it needs financial backing. The possibility of going private is not being ruled out in spite of a lack of direct mentioning, but also the company has to prepare investors and shareholders that it could lead to a split-up of the company and a division-by-division sell-off.

ZDNet will keep you updated with more throughout the morning.

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