BlackBerry Co-Founders Lazaridis, Fregin Mull Takeover Bid

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Published October 10, 2013

| FOXBusiness

BlackBerry (BBRY) co-founders Mike Lazaridis and Douglas Fregin disclosed on Thursday they are considering a bid to buy the embattled smartphone maker.

An offer by the two former BlackBerry execs would give the board of directors an alternative to the $4.7 billion preliminary go-private deal from Canadian billionaire Prem Watsa.

In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Lazaridis and Fregin said they are considering “all available options” for their stake in the company, including a “potential acquisition” of all the company’s outstanding shares that they don’t already own.

The BlackBerry co-founders said they together own 8% of the company's shares and have hired investment banks Goldman Sachs (GS) and Centerview Partners to assist in a review of strategic alternatives.

Lazaridis and Fregin co-founded BlackBerry, then known as Research in Motion, in February 1985.

While Lazaridis served as co-CEO along with Jim Balsillie, Fregin worked as vice president of operations at BlackBerry before retiring in 2007. Lazaridis stepped down in the beginning of 2012 as BlackBerry’s struggles mounted.

In response to the news, Waterloo, Ont.-based BlackBerry reiterated it is conducting a “robust and thorough review of strategic alternatives” with the assistance of its legal and financial advisors.

BlackBerry said it doesn’t plan to disclose further developments until a specific deal is approved or the review has concluded.

The company’s preliminary deal with Watsa’s Fairfax Financial is subject to six-week period of due diligence and values BlackBerry at $4.7 billion, compared with its peak valuation of $81.62 billion in June 2008.

Shares of BlackBerry closed higher on the news, advancing 1.11% to $8.20.

Earlier this week, a report emerged indicating a slew of tech companies are in talks about acquiring all or parts of BlackBerry, including Google (GOOG), SAP (SAP), Cisco Systems (CSCO), Intel (INTC), Samsung and LG.

Samsung denied it is considering an acquisition of BlackBerry, while the other companies said they do not comment on rumors or speculation.

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