NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- BlackBerry (BBRY) founder and former co-CEO Mike Lazaridis is weighing a takeover of the struggling smartphone pioneer and has hired Goldman Sachs and Centerview Partners to advise on any strategic transactions.
BlackBerry is considering strategic options such as a sale of the company in the wake of a disastrous second-quarter earnings report, which fell far short of Wall Street consensus and included a $1 billion inventory writedown related to its Z10 smartphone. The Waterloo, Ontario-based company also said it would lay off 40% of its workforce in a realignment of its business away from the consumer smartphone market.
Lazaridis' emergence as a possible bidder on BlackBerry, either individually or with a strategic consortium, indicates that the smartphone maker's sale process is heating up. In September, BlackBerry's largest shareholder Fairfax Financial said it intended to buy the company at $9 a share, subject to due diligence and financing arrangements from a syndicate of U.S. and Canadian lenders.
Now, it appears BlackBerry's two largest shareholders are both interested in some type of strategic deal. Lazaridis' intent is spelled out in a Thursday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Filings as of June 30 show Fairfax Financial owns 9.89% of BlackBerry's outstanding shares.Lazaridis said he would consider increasing his stake in BlackBerry as high as a full takeover of the company. He also said in the Thursday filing that he could submit indications of interest for BlackBerry, engage the company's board or even submit a formal offer to a Special Committee running the sale process. While Lazaridis said he could discuss potential transactions such as a joint bid or proposal for asset sales with other BlackBerry shareholders or market participants, no mention of a transaction was made in the filing. Lazaridis also has the ability to sell his shares. "
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