It looks like BlackBerry’s oft-cited transition period isn’t over just yet. The company confirmed this morning in a statement that the Fairfax takeover isn’t happening and that CEO Thorsten Heins is being dismissed, and BlackBerry shareholders are not taking the news very well. At time of writing the company’s stock price is hovering at about $6.90, down over 11 percent from its closing position on Friday — not exactly a sign of shareholder confidence in the ailing smartphone maker.
Still, that’s small fries compared to what happened before the market even opened. The Globe and Mail broke the story about BlackBerry’s new direction early this morning and it wasn’t long at all before the company’s stock price took a serious drubbing — it tanked to the tune of almost 19 percent before trading was halted just before 8:30 AM Eastern so BlackBerry could announce the specifics of the Fairfax deal itself, under which the company will accept $1 billion in investments from a slew of investors.
Even though things are apparently starting to flatten out, that’s not a pretty drop no matter how you slice it — today’s was BlackBerry’s lowest open since September 2012 (the Monday after it announced service outage in the EMEA regions, no less) and the dip represents a nearly half billion dollar decline in BlackBerry’s market cap. Naturally, while shareholders may be wary of the company’s future, BlackBerry chooses to look at its hefty investment as a sign of hope for its forthcoming endeavors.
“Today’s announcement represents a significant vote of confidence in BlackBerry and its future by this group of preeminent, long-term investors,” BlackBerry board chairwoman Barbara Stymiest in a statement. That’s great and all, but there’s little doubting that today’s BlackBerry isn’t surefooted in its mission as it once was. For a long while there getting BlackBerry 10 (and the devices that ran it) out the door was the guiding star over Waterloo, an initiative spearheaded by soon-to-be-former CEO Heins himself. Of course, as the Globe and Mail pointed out previously, the push was met with consternation from other BlackBerry higher-ups included former co-CEO Mike Lazaridis.
Now with Heins nearly out the door, the search for his replacement begins, as does the search for a new philosophy. Despite its legion of rabid fans, BlackBerry 10 doesn’t seem to have charmed the masses in the way the company has hoped, and I don’t envy the person who ultimately gets tapped to try and fix that.