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BlackBerry co-founder cuts stake

Source : BUSINESS_STANDARD
Last Updated: Wed, Dec 25, 2013 20:16 hrs
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Mike Lazaridis, a founder and former executive at BlackBerry, took advantage of a rare rise in its share price to cut his stake in the company.

Lazaridis reported in a regulatory filing that a holding company he controls sold 3.5 million shares for about $27.4 million on Monday and Tuesday. Before the sale, Lazaridis owned about 5.7 percent of the company.

Lazaridis offered no explanation for the sale in the filing, and a spokesman said Lazaridis had no comment.

In October, Lazardis BlackBerry's former co-chairman and co-chief executive, and Douglas E Fregin, the company's other founder, announced that they were trying to form an investment group to buy BlackBerry, which has been reeling after the failure of its new line of BlackBerry 10 phones. On Friday, the company reported a $4.4 billion quarterly loss.



Last month, BlackBerry's directors abandoned their attempts to find a new buyer. Instead, a group of investors led by Fairfax Financial Holdings, BlackBerry's largest shareholder, invested $1 billion in convertible debt into the company. At the same time, Thorsten Heins, the chief executive, was replaced by John S Chen, the former chief executive and chairman of Sybase.

While Friday's financial results offered more bad news, investors welcomed Chen's announcement that Foxconn, the Taiwan-based company that manufactures BlackBerrys and iPhones, among other products, would take on some of the handsets' design duties as well as the some of the financial risks associated with BlackBerry's hardware business. Chen also laid out a vague plan to return the company to its core customer base of business and government users.

BlackBerry's share price rose by 3.5 per cent to $7.47 on Monday and 3.5 per cent again on Tuesday.

Lazaridis has been a strong voice in favor of keeping the company's focus on its formerly market-leading smartphones.

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