BlackBerry Scraps Sale Plans, Fires CEO Thorsten Heins Instead


BlackBerry has today announced that it has scrapped plans to sell its hardware business, and that it will be replacing current CEO Thorsten Heins instead. The Canadian company has also secured $1 billion from a group of investors led by Fairfax Financial, and its CEO, Prem Watsa, will become lead director.

Former Sybase CEO John Chen will replace Heins as CEO on an interim basis once the investment is completed, which will take around two weeks, according to BlackBerry.

“Today’s announcement represents a significant vote of confidence in BlackBerry and its future by this group of preeminent, long-term investors,” said BlackBerry chair Barbara Stymiest in a statement issued to AllThingsD today.

“The BlackBerry Board conducted a thorough review of strategic alternatives and pursued the course of action that it concluded is in the best interests of BlackBerry and its constituents, including its shareholders. This financing provides an immediate cash injection on terms favorable to BlackBerry, enhancing our substantial cash position.

“Some of the most important customers in the world rely on BlackBerry and we are implementing the changes necessary to strengthen the company and ensure we remain a strong and innovative partner for their needs,” Stymiest added.

BlackBerry announced back in September that it would be selling its business to Fairfax for $4.7 billion, but that was depending on whether the company could secure enough capital to finance the takeover.

In the meantime, BlackBerry has been seeking other potential purchases, with reports that Samsung, Lenovo, and others might be interested. But clearly no one was — at least not enough to provide BlackBerry with a suitable offer.

Heins has spent less than two years as BlackBerry CEO, but in that time he has overseen the launch of BlackBerry 10, the company’s new mobile operating system, and a small family of new BlackBerry 10 devices, including the Z10 and the Z30, and the Q10 and Q5.