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BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins open to licensing deals and ‘every opportunity’ to add value

Reuters/ AFR | July 10, 2013
BlackBerry signalled on Tuesday that a licensing deal, or even an outright sale of the company, was still a possibility, pleasing shareholders still reeling from the disappointing debut for its new line of smartphones.

Heins said BlackBerry was already seeing small signs of market-share gains in the top-end of the ultra-competitive smartphone market.

"Before you go into any strategic option, I think you have to create value. And the value of the company 15 months ago was way less than what it is today," he said.

CLOCK TICKING
Despite the company's confident tone, many investors agree that the clock is ticking for BlackBerry, which is caught in a squeeze on both the high- and low-ends of the smartphone market.

BlackBerry 10 devices hit store shelves this year just as the high-end smartphone segment had begun to show some signs of saturation. Last week, Samsung reported results that fell shy of expectations, while Apple earlier this year reported its first quarterly profit decline in more than a decade.

On the mid- to low end, competition is growing intense, with Chinese manufacturers such as Huawei Technologies and ZTE gaining ground.

Even so, BlackBerry said it remains determined to stick to its plan and is not re-thinking its strategy in any manner.

"We as a board remain completely supportive of management," said the company's chair, Barbara Stymiest, adding that she was confident the turnaround plan would succeed.

Shareholders voted on Tuesday to elect all the company's director nominees to its board. They also approved the plan to change the company's name to BlackBerry Ltd from Research In Motion Ltd, a move that had been announced in January.

BlackBerry shares closed almost 1 per cent higher at $US9.64 on the Nasdaq on Tuesday.

 

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