BlackBerry is calling off the sale of the company. Thorsten Heins, CEO of the ailing cellphone manufacturer will be stepping down, and the company says it is looking for new leadership.
BlackBerry has entered into an agreement with Fairfax Financial Holding and other institutional investors, who will invest in the company through a $1 billion private placement of convertible debentures. Fairfax has agreed to acquire $250 million principal amount of the debentures. The transaction is expected to be completed within the next two weeks.
Upon the closing of the transaction, John Chen will be appointed executive chair of BlackBerry’s board of directors. Mr. Chen will also serve as Interim CEO pending completion of a search for a new CEO. Prem Watsa, chairman and CEO of Fairfax, will be appointed lead director and chair of the Compensation, Nomination and Governance Committee. Thorsten Heins and David Kerr, managing partner of Edper Financial, and a BlackBerry board member since 2007 will be resigning from the board.
J.P. Morgan Securities, Perella Weinberg Partners, and RBC Capital Markets are serving as financial advisors to BlackBerry. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, Torys and Blake, Cassels & Graydon are serving as legal advisors. BDT & Company, BofA Merrill Lynch and BMO Capital Markets are acting as financial advisors to Fairfax, and Shearman & Sterling and McCarthy Tétrault are acting as legal advisors. BMO Capital Markets is also acting as the sole bookrunner for the private placement.