BlackBerry co-founders Mike Lazaridis and Douglas Fregin mull buyout option

BlackBerry buyout is getting a new turn as its co-founders Mike Lazaridis and Douglas Fregin are considering a bid to buy the company, Reuters reported citing the documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The filing said both co-founders are “interested in pursuing a joint bid” with “the goal of stabilizing and ultimately reinventing the company.”

It is not still clear whether the bidders will join or present an alternative to the tentative $9-a-share bid by a group led by Fairfax Financial Holdings. Fairfax Financial Holdings announced a $4.7 billion offer earlier.

The filing said Lazaridis and Fregin are “considering all available options with respect to their holdings of the shares, including, without limitation, a potential acquisition of all the outstanding shares of the issuer that they do not currently own, either by themselves or with other interested investors.”

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Lazaridis and Fregin together control some 8 percent of BlackBerry, the filing said. That compares with roughly 10 percent controlled by Fairfax.

Excluding Fregin’s shares, Lazaridis controls 5.7 percent of BlackBerry, or about 60,000 shares more than he did at the end of 2012, says a data from Thomson Reuters data.

Both Fairfax and BlackBerry did not comment on the new development.

Also read: $4.7 billion bid for BlackBerry yet to create smartphone demand

Lazaridis signed a confidentiality agreement with BlackBerry on Monday, according to the filing. If a takeover is successful, Lazaridis would become chairman, and Fregin would appoint a director, it says.

Lazaridis and Fregin together founded the company then known as Research In Motion in 1985. Lazaridis was a driving force behind the technology behind the BlackBerry, but Fregin played a minor role compared to Lazaridis.

Freign left the company as it grew into a powerhouse that produced what was then the must-have smartphone for professionals and politicians. Fregin recently teamed up with Lazaridis again to start Quantum Valley Investments to fund quantum physics and quantum computing initiatives.

BlackBerry is also in talks with Cisco Systems, Google and SAP AG among others, about selling them all, or parts of itself. The potential buyers have declined to comment.

editor@telecomlead.com