UPDATE 4-BlackBerry to ask regulators to probe report on returns

Fri Apr 12, 2013 6:18pm EDT
 
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* BlackBerry questions methods used in research report

* Detwiler Fenton report talks of high return rate

* BlackBerry shares close slightly higher on the Nasdaq

By Euan Rocha and Emily Flitter

TORONTO/NEW YORK, April 12 (Reuters) - BlackBerry plans to ask securities regulators in Canada and the United States to probe what it said is a "false and misleading" report that consumer return rates for BlackBerry's new Z10 smartphone have been especially high.

The Canadian company, which has pinned its turnaround hopes on its new BlackBerry 10 line of smartphones, went on the offensive on Friday after the report from Boston-based research and investment firm Detwiler Fenton sent its stock tumbling on Thursday.

BlackBerry said return rates for its flagship Z10 devices have been at, or below, its forecasts and in line with industry norms.

"To suggest otherwise is either a gross misreading of the data or a willful manipulation," Chief Executive Thorsten Heins said in a statement. "Such a conclusion is absolutely without basis and BlackBerry will not leave it unchallenged."

BlackBerry said Detwiler Fenton had so far refused to share its report or its methods. It said it would present a formal request for an investigation to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and to the Ontario Securities Commission, which is Canada's major securities regulator, over the next few days.   Continued...