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BlackBerry Explores Strategic Alternatives

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- BlackBerry (BBRY) announced that its board of directors is exploring strategic alternatives for the company, as the smartphone maker continues to lose market share to other handset providers.

The company "has formed a Special Committee to explore strategic alternatives to enhance value and increase scale in order to accelerate BlackBerry 10 deployment," BlackBerry said in a statement. These alternatives could include joint ventures, strategic partnerships or alliances, or an outright sale of the Waterloo, Ontario-based company.

BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins is on the Special Committee, along with Barbara Stymiest, Richard Lynch and Bert Nordberg. The Committee will be chaired by Timothy Dattels.

"During the past year, management and the Board have been focused on launching the BlackBerry 10 platform and BES 10, establishing a strong financial position, and evaluating the best approach to delivering long-term value for customers and shareholders," Dattels said in the press release. "Given the importance and strength of our technology, and the evolving industry and competitive landscape, we believe that now is the right time to explore strategic alternatives."

BlackBerry also announced that its largest shareholder, Prem Watsa, Chairman and CEO of Fairfax Financial is resigning from the board because of potential conflicts. "I continue to be a strong supporter of the Company, the Board and Management as they move forward during this process, and Fairfax Financial has no current intention of selling its shares," Watsa said in the press release.

JPMorgan is acting as financial advisor to the company, while Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and Torys are acting as legal advisors.

Shares were halted in pre-market trading, but closed up on Friday, gaining 5.74% on reports the company was considering going private as an option.

--Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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