The share price touched $6.40 — the lowest it’s been in about a decade — before recovering slightly to -12% following this morning announcement. A group of institutional investors led by Fairfax Financial Holdings, which owns about 10% of the company’s stock, say that they’ll invest $1B in BlackBerry as part of a private debt offering. The debt could be converted into 16% of the company’s stock. When the debt deal closes, expected in about two weeks, CEO Thorstein Heins will resign and be replaced by former Sybase CEO John Chen. What’s more, today’s release says that the changes represent “the conclusion of the review of strategic alternatives” — including a possible sale — that the company announced in August. Shortly afterward, Fairfax said that it would try to enlist partners in an effort to take the company private at $4.7B, or $9 a share. Fairfax CEO Prem Watsa says that with the new investment his company “reinforces its deep commitment to the future success of this company.” Incoming CEO Chen calls Blackberry “an iconic brand with enormous potential — but it’s going to take time, discipline and tough decisions to reclaim our success.” Investors lost faith in its effort with BlackBerry 10 — the platform it introduced with great fanfare in January — to regain the market share that the company has lost to Apple and phones that run Google’s Android operating system. BlackBerry had 4.0% of the U.S. market in the three months ending in August, down from about 8.4% last year, according to comScore MobiLens data.
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