Co-Founder Jim Balsillie Sells BlackBerry Shares

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Former Co-CEO severs ties with the company he helped create

BlackBerry (previously Research In Motion) co-founder and former co-CEO Jim Balsillie has sold his stake in the Canadian smartphone manufacturer, according to a filing released earlier this week.

As of 31 December 2012, Balsillie owned no shares in Blackberry, while a year ago he held 29.8 million, representing a stake of around 5.1 percent. According to Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) rules, investors with a stake of less than five percent in a company are not required to report when they buy or sell shares.

Balsillie had been the company’s third largest shareholder and the BlackBerry stock tumbled 7.5 percent following the disclosure, before recovering 7.7 percent later on.

Jim Balsillie’s BlackBerry shares

jim balsillie RIMBalsillie’s sale indicated a final severing of ties between himself and BlackBerry, which rebranded itself last month.  He and Mike Lazaridis founded the company 20 years ago, but were replaced by Thorstein Heins in January last year, following a coup by disillusioned board members. Lazaridis currently holds 29.9 million shares in BlackBerry, an increase of about 200 shares from the third quarter of 2012, which gives him a 5.7 percent stake in the company.

BlackBerry has seen its share of the smartphone market eroded by the likes of Apple and Samsung in recent years, with much of its hopes for a recovery resting on the success of the recently launched BlackBerry 10 operating system.

The full-touchscreen BlackBerry Z10 is available already in the UK, while the keyboard-based BlackBerry Q10 will be arriving later this year. The BlackBerry Z10 has been well received, and there is a real chance of a turnaround if the perception of the company keeps improving.

What do you know about BlackBerrys? Find out with our quiz!

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