BlackBerry calls off sale, CEO to leave, shares fall

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Struggling smartphone maker BlackBerry has given up looking for a buyer.

Instead it will buy time to try to revive its fortunes by raising about one billion dollars from its largest shareholder – Fairfax Financial Holdings – and other institutional investors, which caused the share price to plummet.

The Canadian company also said its Chief Executive Thorsten Heins would leave in about two weeks, as soon as the new investment process is complete.

His interim successor will be John Chen, the former boss of database software company Sybase, who said: “BlackBerry is an iconic brand with enormous potential, but it’s going to take time, discipline and tough decisions to reclaim our success.”

Having pioneered mobile phone email, Blackberry lost much of its market share to Apple’s iPhones and devices running Google’s Android software.

It failed to find a buyer despite talking to Cisco Systems, Google, SAP, Lenovo, Samsung, LG and Intel about selling parts or all of itself.

No shut down says Chen

Incoming interim Chief Executive John Chen told Reuters that BlackBerry has no plans to shut down its loss-making handset business and it has enough in its stable to stage a turnaround.

“I know we have enough ingredients to build a long-term sustainable business,” Chen said. “I have done this before and seen the same
movie before.”

Chen said he plans to make changes in the company’s executive team, bringing in new faces from outside and promoting some people within the company too.

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