BlackBerry Ltd is warming up to the possibility of going private, as the smartphone maker battles to revive its fortunes, several sources familiar with the situation said.
Chief executive Thorsten Heins and the company's board is increasingly coming around to the idea that taking BlackBerry private would give them breathing room to fix its problems out of the public eye, the sources said.
"There is a change of tone on the board," sources said.
No deal is imminent, however, and BlackBerry has not launched any kind of a sale process, the sources said. Even if it tried, BlackBerry could find it hard to come up with a buyer and the funding to go private. With the company still posting losses and bleeding subscribers, private equity firms and other buyers may not want to step up.
The company's shares have fallen more than 19% this year. Its market value has fallen to $4.8 billion, from $84 billion at its peak in 2008.
BlackBerry, which had been pinning its hopes for a turnaround on its new line of BlackBerry 10 devices, declined to comment.
BlackBerry's openness to consider a deal marks a radical shift in thinking at the once high-flying smartphone maker. Until recently, BlackBerry, a pioneer in providing secured emails on handheld devices, had been bent on staying independent, betting its turnaround on its latest smartphones.