BlackBerry's Board of Directors has formed a special committee charged with evaluating potential buyout offers. While the most likely offer would involve a partial or full sale, BlackBerry announced it was open to other deals such as partnerships and joint ventures.
Shares of BlackBerry rose 7.5 percent after the news Monday, with investors happy to hear the Waterloo, Ontario-based mobile device manufacturer was at least considering a sale. BlackBerry has struggled for years while other smartphone manufacturers took over its market share.
Since Research In Motion renamed itself BlackBerry at the start of the year, the company has been weighing "strategic alternatives," but this is the first time it has put together a committee to evaluate offers.
Along with renaming itself BlackBerry, the company launched a series of smartphones running on the new BlackBerry 10 operating system in an attempt to regain market share and become relevant again. The BlackBerry 10 phones were supposed to bring back the company, but so far their flagship devices have gained little to no traction in the market.
July saw multiple cuts to the BlackBerry 10 lineup. The AT&T Z10 price was cut by 75 percent as a result of poor sales, and shortly thereafter BlackBerry cut the Z10 and Q10's production in half due to lack of demand for the BB10 phones.
In a world run by marketing, BlackBerry was absolutely horrendous in generating sales via promotion. There were virtually no advertisements for the Z10 and Q10 and considering that most people had forgotten about BlackBerry, no one even knew there were new devices to check out.
With smaller screen sizes and lacking the application ecosystem of its competitors, the BB10 lineup faced an uphill fight from the beginning. While there may be room for another app ecosystem outside of Google's Android and Apple's iOS, BlackBerry has not been able to lure enough developers for a competitive offering.
The execution of BlackBerry's roll-out for BB10 devices was also disastrous, with much hype over the new BB10 OS for months before any phones ever made it to market.
"The timing of product introductions was poor and disorganized," said independent telecom analyst Jeff Kagan. "They had a coming-out party, but no devices hit the market for the next couple months. Strange."
Is a Sale Possible?
Now that BlackBerry is looking for buyers, it really comes down to whether anyone wants to purchase the company. BlackBerry executives said Monday that even though they had put together a committee, action was not guaranteed.
There is a lot that BlackBerry has to offer on the software side in terms of patents and technology, but its hardware business would be useless to most companies. If anything ends up coming from the committee it will probably mean a dismantling of BlackBerry as it exists. Companies will seek to buy the patents and parts of the software business, but an entire acquisition will be hard to come by.