BlackBerry appears to be in a bit of trouble, but you didn't need us to tell you that. The company recently announced in a preliminary report that it expects to have a loss of nearly $1 billion for the company's second fiscal quarter. And accompanying that? A massive layoff of anywhere from 35 to 40 per cent of the company's approximately 13,000 or so employees by the end of the year.
The grim news comes on the heels of earlier reports that BlackBerry's board is considering a fire sale of the company. Not only has the BlackBerry board allegedly already formed a committee to explore "strategic alternatives," but it's been reported that the board is looking to wrap up whatever it has in mind – up to a full sale of the company – by November.
As for what the sale might officially entail, it's too soon to tell exactly what BlackBerry might offer potential suitors. It may include the option being floated around the tech circles of late that the company could be best-served by selling off a number of the its assets and concentrating on hardware manufacturing.
However, a name has started to spring up in the rumour circles regarding potential BlackBerry bidders, and it's one that the company should be quite familiar with: BlackBerry's former co-CEO, Mike Lazaridis.
According to reports from both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, Lazaridis has allegedly begun the process of chatting up private equity firms – one of the first steps in the long and intriguing road of making a bid for BlackBerry (or perhaps even a just part of BlackBerry).
The New York Times' David Gelles and Michael J. De La Merced warn in their report that talks are at the most preliminary of stages, which is to say that one shouldn't expect that Lazaridis is going to ultimately going to throw his hat into BlackBerry's ring. Additionally, Lazaridis isn't commenting about the rumors, nor are representatives from the two private equity firms he's allegedly been talking to – the Blackstone Group and the Carlyle Group.
It was announced that Lazaridis, also BlackBerry's co-founder, was stepping down from the co-CEO post alongside Jim Balsillie in January of last year. Lazaridis, however, stayed on as the company's vice chairman, whereas Balsillie took up seat on the company's board of directors. Both lasted until approximately March of 2013, where it was announced that Lazaridis and Balsillie were retiring from their respective positions — following yet another financial report where BlackBerry failed to meet analysts' "already low expectations," as reported by the Toronto Star.
On Friday, BlackBerry announced that it will cut 4,500 jobs, or about 40 per cent of its workforce. The cuts are intended to help BlackBerry realise a 50 per cent reduction in operating expenditures. Once in place, BlackBerry's total workforce will stand at approximately 7,000 full-time global employees.