UPDATE 2-BlackBerry co-founders considering bid for company

Thu Oct 10, 2013 6:52pm EDT
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By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO Oct 10 (Reuters) - BlackBerry Ltd co-founders Mike Lazaridis and Douglas Fregin are considering a bid to buy the struggling smartphone maker, according to a securities filing on Thursday, raising the prospect of an alternative to a $4.7 billion offer led by its top shareholder.

The filing did not indicate whether the pair was planning to join or to present an alternative to a tentative $9-a-share bid by a group led by Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. Fairfax, which is headed by financier Prem Watsa, has not yet identified other members of the group.

Lazaridis and Fregin together control some 8 percent of BlackBerry, the filing said. That compares with roughly 10 percent controlled by Fairfax.

Excluding Fregin's shares, Lazaridis controls 5.7 percent of BlackBerry, or about 60,000 shares more than he did at the end of 2012, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Lazaridis, who until early last year was one of BlackBerry's co-chief executives and co-chairmen, appears to be considering "the widest range of options possible," BGC Partners technology analyst Colin Gillis said.

"He's going to talk to people by himself; he's going to talk to Prem; he's going to talk to everybody," said Gillis.

Fairfax declined to comment on the Lazaridis filing, which noted that while Lazaridis and Fregin could make an offer, they could opt to take other steps, including selling their shares.   Continued...