BlackBerry board warms to taking company private

BlackBerry is considering going private as part of the ongoing fight to turn the company's fortunes around, sources close to the discussions have told Reuters.

The firm's board and CEO Thorsten Heins are increasingly feeling that going private would give the company space to quietly work on solutions without scrutiny from shareholders and the outside world the sources said.

"There is a change of tone on the board," one told Reuters. There is no imminent deal and no sale process has been initiated however.

If it is decided by the board that going private is the best option going forward, buyers and private equity firms willing to take on the challenge will still have to be found - the company continues to post losses and is fast dropping subscribers.

BlackBerry's share price has fallen by over 19 per cent this year. Its market value has plunged from its 2008 peak of $84 billion (£54 billion) to just $4.8 billion (£3.1 billion) presently.

At the company's annual meeting last month, Heins asked shareholders to be patient, arguing that the company is in a "transition" period following disappointing first quarter sales of its latest flagship Z10 model.

"This isn't just the launch of a new product but a whole new platform. While many will judge us on the basis of one quarter of a single product, we are not a devices-only product," he said. "This is a long-term transition for the company, but I can assure you that we're pushing very hard."

Later, when questioned about strategic alternatives, Heins did not rule out the option of a licensing deal or even an outright sale, pledging to do anything to return the company to profits. "BlackBerry will pursue every opportunity to create value for shareholders," he said.