Blackberry Sale Dead, CEO Out

BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins

Outgoing BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins

The deadline for troubled smartphone and mobile platform maker Blackberry to find a suitor has come and gone with no deal, and company will now soldier on by raising $1 billion in new funding on its own, according to company officials.

In a prepared statement, the company added that that short-lived CEO Thorsten Heins is leaving Blackberry and that a significant shakeup on the executive board is afoot. Heins’ position will be filled on an interim basis by John Chen, who will also serve as board chairman.

The news caps nearly three months of drama during which BlackBerry had been seeking a buyer and had received a letter of intent from Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. to purchase the company for nearly $5 billion. Other rumored suitors included the private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management and Qualcomm Inc.

Under the new deal struck this morning, Fairfax will help BlackBerry raise $1 billion in private funding and assume $250 million in debt. The transaction is expected to be completed within the next two weeks.

“I look forward to leading BlackBerry in its turnaround and business model transformation for the benefit of all of its constituencies, including its customers, shareholders and employees,” Chen added.

Once a darling of the smartphone market, BlackBerry has seen its share of the mobile OS market fall to just 2.7 percent, recent IDC figures released earlier this month show. Although the figure was up one point from last year, the company’s share still remains far behind Android and iOS, which own 75.3 percent and 16.9 percent market share, respectively.

In September Jabil Curcuit Inc., manufacturer of BlackBerry’s devices said it wanted out of its contract to produce the units after sales stagnated. In recent months, the Canadian vendor formerly known as Research In Motion Ltd. BlackBerry has announced deep losses, job cuts, a takeover bid and a new distribution deal that finds the company turning its back on the consumer and devices space and pinning its hopes on what may be the last remaining jewel in its crown: its mobile management server platform.