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BlackBerry agrees to buyout

September 23, 2013

BlackBerry has agreed to a buyout worth billions of dollars. The move comes just days after the one-time mobile phone pioneer said it was laying off 40 percent of its workforce in expectation of massive losses this year.

epa03561798 Icons on the display of a new BlackBerry Z10 handset are pictured at the Blackberry smartphone launch in London, Britain, 30 January 2013. Research in Motion (RIM) launched its new BlackBerry 10 smartphone on 30 January. The company announced two new touch screen smartphones, the BlackBerry Z10 and the BlackBerry Q10. EPA/ANDY RAIN +++(c) dpa - Bildfunk+++
Image: picture-alliance/dpa

In a statement released on Monday, BlackBerry said it would sell its stocks to a consortium of shareholders for $4.7 billion (3.48 billion euros) following disappointing sales.

The Canadian company "signed a letter of intent agreement under which a consortium to be led by Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited has offered to acquire the company subject to due diligence."

Fairfax - also based in Canada - already owns 10 percent of BlackBerry.

Current shareholders are to receive $9 for each outstanding share, the statement added.

On Friday, Blackberry said it planned to lay off 4,500 employees - roughly 40 percent of its current workforce. The smartphone maker let go nearly as many workers in the previous year as well.

With the release of its Z10 smartphone this year, BlackBerry attempted to rejuvenate its image in a highly competitive smartphone market which is dominated by Apple and Android phones. However, the company said on Friday it still expected to incur losses of $995 million in the second quarter of this year.

BlackBerry phones surpassed technology on the market in the early 2000s by allowing users to access email and other services online. The rise of the iPhone in 2007, followed soon after by Android phones, soon stole away consumers with the touch screen and other technological innovations.

kms/hc (AP, AFP)