BlackBerry shares up following report that going-private option gaining favour

TORONTO – BlackBerry shares were up following a report that its chief executive and board of directors are warming to the idea of taking the company private.

Shares of Canada’s flagship technology company, formerly called Research In Motion, were up 55 cents at $10.06 on the Toronto Stock Exchange in early trading.

BlackBerry shares were also up 52 cents at US$9.75 on the Nasdaq market.

The always volatile stock has been hovering just above and below the $10 level all week, well below a 52-week high near $18.50 set earlier in the year amid optimism about the roll-out of the first BlackBerry 10 products.

The Reuters news agency reported Thursday that several sources, which it didn’t identify, said a going-private idea was being considered but no deal is imminent.

“Sorry, but we cannot comment on rumours or speculation,” a BlackBerry media contact said in a brief email seeking comment on the report.

BlackBerry current chief executive Thorsten Heins and the board have been working to revitalize the smartphone maker’s business amid intense competition from Apple’s iPhone, Android-based devices from Samsung and others.

Heins replaced company co-founder Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie amid investor unhappiness with RIM’s stock price and widespread criticism over delays in bringing out products to compete against Apple and other challengers.

BlackBerry’s board, along with Heins, have also been urged to make strategic moves such as splitting up the business into different companies or selling it outright. Still, BlackBerry has continued to operate as an independent company.

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