UPDATE 1-CEO says BlackBerry open to licensing deals, other options

Tue Jul 9, 2013 5:50pm EDT
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By Euan Rocha

WATERLOO, Ontario July 9 (Reuters) - BlackBerry Ltd signaled on Tuesday that a licensing deal, or even an outright sale of the company, was still a possibility, pleasing shareholders still reeling from the disappointing debut for its new line of smartphones.

Chief Executive Thorsten Heins, responding to a question about whether he was looking into strategic alternatives, said he is open to all options that create value for shareholders. He emphasized that the company has so far focused on creating value through the launch of its new devices powered by an all-new BlackBerry 10 operating system.

"This is a long-term transition for the company, but I can assure you that we're pushing very hard," Heins said at the company's annual shareholder meeting. "BlackBerry will pursue every opportunity to create value for shareholders."

His remarks that BlackBerry was also open to any and all licensing opportunities, sent shares higher in morning trading.

John Goldsmith, deputy head of equities at Montrusco Bolton, which owns more than 1.5 million BlackBerry shares, believes that BlackBerry may well be pressed into striking such a deal.

"I think they're on a very short leash," said Goldsmith, referring to BlackBerry's management. "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 for sale or some other option."

The company's stock had dropped more than 30 percent after it posted disappointing second-quarter results in late June and forecast an operating loss in the current quarter.   Continued...