BlackBerry CEO resigns as buyout deal falls flat

Thorsten Heins will step down as the head of BlackBerry, as the US$4.7 billion buyout from Fairfax Financial Holdings falls through.

Nic Healey Senior Editor / Australia
Nic Healey is a Senior Editor with CNET, based in the Australia office. His passions include bourbon, video games and boring strangers with photos of his cat.
Nic Healey

The US$4.7 billion buyout of BlackBerry by Fairfax Financial Holdings has fallen through, with the company now seeking US$1 billion through the sale of convertible notes to investors.

(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)

Additionally, CEO Thorsten Heins will be replaced, with John S Chen taking the role of interim CEO.

The Fairfax buyout would have seen BlackBerry become a privately owned company. It was believed that taking the troubled company off the public markets would give BlackBerry some breathing room to regain its feet without pressure from stockholders.

Instead, Fairfax will acquire US$250 million worth of convertible debentures, with a further US$750 million being made available to additional investors if they can be found.

If Heins had been sacked following a buyout, he would have received a US$56 million payout. As it stands now, his final payday may have shrunk to US$22 million, based on some estimates.

What this all means for BlackBerry remains to be seen. It seems unlikely that the company will continue to pursue the consumer handset market — opting to concentrate on enterprise clients looking for secure server and internal messaging clients may prove more viable in the long run.