BlackBerry To Review Strategic Options

Board of directors at BlackBerry to review firm’s ‘strategic alternatives’, including possible separation of some of its businesses

New development in the lengthy history of BlackBerry (previously known as Research in Motion) could be underway, according to the firm.

BlackBerry announced on Monday that its Board of Directors “will initiate a review of its portfolio of businesses.”

This is not the first time that BlackBerry has opted to consider its strategic options. Back in August 2013 for example, BlackBerry considered separating its then popular BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) app from the rest of the company.

Strategic review

But fast forward to 2023, and BlackBery’s board of directors said its strategic review will assist them “as it considers various strategic alternatives to drive enhanced shareholder value. These alternatives include, but are not limited to, the possible separation of one or more of BlackBerry’s businesses.”

“BlackBerry is executing on a strong, well-resourced plan to deliver revenue and ARR growth, as well as significant improvements in non-GAAP EPS and cashflow this fiscal year,” said John Chen, CEO and executive chairman.

“Although we expect achievement of this plan to deliver significant shareholder benefits, we do not believe that this is fully reflected in the market’s current valuation of the Company,” said Chen.

“Accordingly, the Board and management believe it is an appropriate time to initiate a comprehensive review of the Company’s portfolio,” Chen added. “The review aims to identify and evaluate opportunities to further enhance shareholder value. As we undertake this review, we remain fully focused on delivering our plan and remain committed to our customers, partners and employees.”

BlackBerry said that it has not set a timetable for completing the process and does not intend to disclose developments until the Board has approved a specific agreement or transaction or has terminated its review.

It also said the review may reveal no change is needed.

Patent sale

However BlackBerry said it would continue with the previously announced sale of “substantially all of its non-core patents and patent applications to Malikie Innovations Limited for up to $900m.

This came after its prior deal to sell them to Catapult IP Innovations Inc for $600m fell through, as the deal took longer than usual to close.

It should be noted that Malkie is a newly formed unit of “intellectual property monetisation firm” called Key Patent Innovations Ltd.

Tech veteran

BlackBlack is a Canadian tech giant that was founded in 1984 and built pagers.

Want to know all about BlackBerry? Read Silicon’s Tales In Tech History article.

It went public in 1997 and its Qwerty physical keyboards on its smartphones ensured BlackBerry devices became the must have device for businessmen, politicians (including former President Barack Obama) and legions of fans in the early 2000s.

But BlackBerry, like Nokia at the time, was caught by napping by the arrival of the Apple iPhone in 2007. Its battle with Apple (and Android) intensified over the next five years, and it struggled to maintain a grip on its core enterprise market.

BlackBerry finally axed the last of its classic smartphones in 2022 and has since been trying to sell its legacy patents related to its mobile devices.

BlackBerry’s core businesses today are cybersecurity for organisations and governments, coupled with software used by car makers around the world.