CEO says BlackBerry on right path, open to all options

Tue Jul 9, 2013 12:31pm EDT
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By Euan Rocha

WATERLOO, Ontario July 9 (Reuters) - BlackBerry Ltd is on the right path for a turnaround despite the disappointing debut of its make-or-break line of smartphones, its CEO insisted on Tuesday, allowing that the company remains open to any options that would create value for its investors.

"BlackBerry will pursue every opportunity to create value for shareholders," Chief Executive Thorsten Heins told investors at the company's subdued annual meeting.

After the remark, made while he was speaking about whether the company would look into licensing opportunities, BlackBerry shares added to early gains on the Nasdaq.

Less than two weeks ago, BlackBerry reported results and sales of its new BlackBerry 10 line of smartphones fell short of analysts' expectations in the quarter ended June 1. The results offered little evidence that the company can quickly win back market share from Apple's iPhone, Samsung's Galaxy devices, and other phones powered by Google's Android operating system.

"I think they're on a very short leash" said John Goldsmith, the deputy head of equities at Montrusco Bolton Investments Inc, which owns more than 1.5 million BlackBerry shares.

"I wouldn't be surprised if within the next two quarters there is a definitive announcement with regard to other options that this company could be looking at, whether that's putting itself up for sale or some other option."

Asking for shareholders' patience, Heins said his efforts to revive BlackBerry's fortunes were difficult and far from complete.

"Our transformation is ongoing and in no way easy," he told an auditorium packed with investors in the company's hometown of Waterloo, Ontario. "This is a long-term transition for the company but I can assure you that we are pushing very hard."   Continued...