Fairfax bails out BlackBerry with another $250m

The mobile manufacturer’s largest shareholder ploughs another $250m into the firm, buying up more of its debts and giving BlackBerry some extra cash to play with.

Fairfax Financial Holdings today announced it was buying up more of BlackBerry’s debts to the tune of $250m.

The Canadian firm is the largest shareholder of BlackBerry stock and made a bid in September to buy out the company in its entirety for $4.7bn.

However, the deal fell through and instead in November Fairfax led a group of investors to buy $1bn of BlackBerry’s debentures – a debt not secured by collateral but backed only by reputation.

Today it confirmed it would buy a further $250m, giving BlackBerry a much needed cash injection as it tries to change direction and return to profitability.

BlackBerry’s most recent results showed the company was continuing to struggle, with operating losses of $4.4bn and revenues down by 56% year on year.

However, CEO John Chen – appointed the day the Fairfax debenture buyout was made public – continued to tout the company’s comeback capabilities. He is in the process of making numerous changes to the management team and has promised a return to focusing on enterprise rather than chasing the consumer market.

“With the operational and organisational changes we have announced, BlackBerry has established a clear roadmap that will allow it to target a return to improved financial performance in the coming year,” Chen said during BlackBerry’s earnings call.

“We have accomplished a lot… but still have significant work ahead of us as we target improved financial performance next year.”

This latest debenture transaction is expected to close before 16 January 2014.

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