BlackBerry Ltd (BBRY) Co-Founder Mike Lazaridis In Talks To Take The Company Private

Posted Sep 21, 2013

BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) co-founder Mike Lazaridis (pictured above) is currently in talks with private equity firms to buy out the Waterloo-based mobile giant.  Lazaridis talked to both Blackstone Group and Carlyle Group about making an offer, according to sources with The New York Times.  The talks are preliminary and there is a possibility that no bids will be made.

It will be even harder to convince private equity firms to make an offer because the company reported a terrible quarter on Friday, sending the company stock price in the U.S. down 17.1% on Friday.  BlackBerry also announced that they would be laying off 4,500 people as part of a restructuring.

The NY Times reports that private equity firms have been considering a bid on BlackBerry for over a year.  However, buyout specialists saw very few options to turn BlackBerry around even as far back as 18 months ago.

Lazaridis co-founder BlackBerry in 1985 and remains one of the largest shareholders in the company.  To take the company private, he would likely need to use a large chunk of his stake for the sale.  Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, the other BlackBerry co-founder, stepped down last year as co-chief executives due to shareholder pressure, giving control to Thorsten Heins.

Under Heins’ leadership, BlackBerry continued to avoid making a dent on Apple and Google’s mobile marketshare.  Android has the largest smartphone marketshare and Apple remains the largest company in the world based on market cap.