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BlackBerry co-founders serious about takeover bid

BlackBerry’s co-founders are set to throw their hats in the ring to acquire the company.

An SEC filing shows that Mike Lazaridis and Douglas Fregin are looking at the possibility of acquiring all the remaining BlackBerry shares they don’t currently own, which would represent some 92 per cent.

“In light of [BlackBerry’s] recent announcement that its board of directors has formed a special committee to explore strategic alternatives to enhance value and increase scale, the reporting persons are considering all available options with respect to their holdings of the shares, including, without limitation, a potential acquisition of all the outstanding shares of the issuer that they do not currently own, either by themselves or with other interested investors,” the document says.

The document shows that investment firms owned by the two have agreed to “work exclusively with each other with respect to any potential acquisition of all or a portion of the assets or equity interests” of BlackBerry.

The SEC filing mentioned “other interested investors” which could point to any number of people or parties’ joining the two’s bid to take control of the remaining shares not currently owned.

Lazaridis, former co-CEO and founder of what was Research in Motion and Fregin, a former VP of operations and fellow founder, control 41.7 million shares, which is eight per cent of the issued stock.

Lazaridis stepped down as co-CEO in early 2012 after failing, along with co-CEO Jim Balsillie, to reverse BlackBerry’s decline in the worldwide smartphone market and were replaced by German Thorsten Heins.

The first rumours that Lazaridis was looking at acquiring the remaining shares surfaced last month when the New York Times and Wall Street Journal both reported he was talking to private equity firms to back his bid.

The front-runner in the acquisition stakes is fellow Canadian firm and highest shareholder Fairfax Financial, which has signed papers on a $4.7 billion [£2.94 billion] deal to buy BlackBerry – worth around $9 [£5.63] per share.

Cisco, Google and SAP have all expressed an interest in taking part of the company and a deal with those three will depend on whether the firm is broken up or sold as a whole entity.

Image Credit: Flickr (textlad)