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HindustanTimes Thu,21 Aug 2014

Investors turn up heat on BlackBerry board

Reuters  Toronto/ New York, July 08, 2013
First Published: 00:06 IST(8/7/2013) | Last Updated: 01:28 IST(8/7/2013)

BlackBerry will likely face tough questions about its future at its annual meeting on Tuesday, after dismal quarterly results last week triggered a 28% plunge in the Canadian smartphone maker’s share price.

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Sales of BlackBerry’s make-or-break new line of smartphones in the quarter ended June 1 came in well below analysts’ expectations, and offered little evidence that the company can quickly win back market share from Apple Inc’s  iPhone, Samsung’s Galaxy devices, and other phones powered by Google Inc’s Android operating system.

“The results were a quasi death knell for BlackBerry,” said John Goldsmith, the deputy head of equities at Montrusco Bolton, which owns more than 1.5 million BlackBerry shares. “The share move last week was very violent. I think you are going to get people standing up and making their voices heard at the AGM.”

BlackBerry has forecast another operating loss for the current quarter, but chief executive Thorsten Heins said the company is on the right track and just needs more time.

“This is a year of investment. We have managed our cash carefully and prudently, and we now have the funds to invest, so this is the ‘create the future’ year,” Heins said.

Some investors say BlackBerry must now look at all its options, from a sale of the whole company to a sale of parts. Its valuable patent portfolio and high-margin services business could draw interest from technology companies, according to bankers and investors.


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