The once mighty mobile maker BlackBerry faces a cloudy future, with the company currently looking for a buyer. For co-founder Mike Lazaridis, it must be a particularly difficult time with so much uncertainty surrounding the company he helped start way back in 1984.
Of course, BlackBerry’s current woes stem from decisions made during his leadership, a position he left at the start of 2012. But with the Canadian mobile company now looking for a buyer, Lazaridis could step back into the fold in a bold attempt to rescue his baby.
A US Securities and Exchange Commission filing Thursday reveals that Lazaridis is considering a bid to rival the $4.7 billion offer made recently by Toronto-based consortium Fairfax Financial. Lazaridis has teamed up with Douglas Fredin, another co-founder of Research In Motion, BlackBerry’s former name.
Together the pair own around 8 percent of the company. Rival bidder Fairfax has around 10 percent.
According to a Bloomberg report earlier this week, Fairfax up to now has failed to name any other members in its consortium, leading investors to “grow increasingly concerned that the current deal will fall apart”. Lazaridis may have been motivated to get involved following fears that the company he helped to build could be broken up in any sale.
BlackBerry has until November 4 to consider the Fairfax offer – that’s assuming it’s still in place when the day comes around.
Lazaridis stepped down from his co-CEO position, along with Jim Balsillie, back in January 2012, with the company in dire straits.
Once the world’s leading smartphone company, BlackBerry enjoyed a more than 50 percent share of the US market. Since the iPhone came on the scene six years ago, as well as a slew of attractive Android handsets, this has dropped to a paltry 3 percent.
BlackBerry was accused of standing still, of failing to innovate in a rapidly evolving market, and suffered as a result. The launch of its all-new BB10 mobile operating system and new handsets earlier this year failed to turn things around, with Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform beginning to establish itself as the third major player in the smartphone market.
Many observers believe any deal will likely see the Ontario-based company turn away from the consumer market and concentrate instead on bolstering its mobile device management and IT services business.