BlackBerry is up for sale, and the men who founded it are definitely interested. Back in 1984, Mike Lazaridis and Douglas Fregin co-founded Research in Motion, which was renamed earlier this year to BlackBerry. The company already has a takeover bid on the table, placed by its largest shareholder Fairfax Financial Holdings, which owns about 10 percent. Fairfax’s bid is non binding and subject to its due diligence, there have been reports that it is struggling with raising the required finances to close the $4.7 billion takeover at $9 per share. Fairfax will return on November 4th, until then BlackBerry is free to seek buyers, and it just might receive a bid from Lazaridis and Fregin.
Both men have filed a 13-D with the Securities and Exchange Commission, finally disclosing that they’re indeed interested in acquiring the company they founded. As per the filing, they’re “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 [BlackBerry].” Lazaridis and Fregin jointly own roughly 8 percent of BlackBerry, they can bring in other investors who are willing to put in the money to purchase all outstanding BlackBerry shares. Centerview Partners LLC and Goldman Sachs have been tapped to help them consider their options, the filing reveals.
It was rumored earlier this month that Mike Lazaridis was interested in joining the takeover bid, this is actually the first time that Fregin’s interest has come to light. Both men have now publicly confirmed their interest in a possible acquisition of BlackBerry, though it in no way binds them to actually go through with it. As it stands, they must put in an offer of more than $9 per share to have any chance of taking back the company. Fregin worked at BlackBerry as vice president of operations until 2007, while Lazaridis left his position as the vice chairman of the company’s board in May.