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Business Technology

BlackBerry sets up special committee, may sell itself

BlackBerry announced Monday morning that it is entertaining the option of selling itself.

The struggling Canadian phone maker said it has formed a special committee tasked with "exploring strategic alternatives to enhance value and increase sale" of the BlackBerry 10 platform. Among the options on the table are possible joint ventures, strategic partnerships and a sale of the company.

“Given the importance and strength of our technology, and the evolving industry and competitive landscape, we believe that now is the right time to explore strategic alternatives," Timothy Dattels, chairman of BlackBerry’s special committee, said in a statement.

The move comes as BlackBerry struggles to remain relevant in the United States, where Google and Apple have all but erased BlackBerry from the smartphone market.

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Earlier this year, BlackBerry, under the direction of Chief Executive Thorsten Heins, released the new BlackBerry 10 platform and a variety of new devices, but none has been a hit with consumers.

"As the special committee focuses on exploring alternatives, we will be continuing with our strategy of reducing cost, driving efficiency and accelerating the deployment of BES 10, as well as driving adoption of BlackBerry 10 smartphones," Heins said in a statement Monday.

Along with the special committee, BlackBerry also announced that Prem Watsa, the chairman and chief executive of Fairfax Financial, was resigning from the board due to the possibility of conflicts. Watsa is the largest BlackBerry shareholder and may be interested in purchasing the company.

"I continue to be a strong supporter of the company, the board and management as they move forward during this process, and Fairfax Financial has no current intention of selling its shares," Watsa said in the statement.

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Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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