BlackBerry Gets Breathing Room With Debt Option Deadline Extension

BlackberryStruggling smartphone maker BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) has agreed to extend the deadline for an option that will allow investors to purchase up to an additional $250 million in convertible debt. The option is part of its agreement with Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited and other investors that invested $1 billion in the company last month through a convertible debt offering.

Per BlackBerry’s press release, the deadline for the $250 million convertible debt purchase option has been extended to January 13, 2014. If the option is exercised, the purchase will be completed on or before January 16.

The Canadian smartphone maker has been in a quiet period since the initial closing. According to BlackBerry, the extension will allow the company to provide updated financial information to prospective investors after its third quarter 2013 results have been publicly released on December 20, 2013.

BlackBerry’s share price has plunged over 40 percent since the company announced in September that it was slashing its workforce by about 40 percent after sustaining quarterly losses of nearly $1 billion. The company used to be a dominant player in the smartphone market before it was undermined by Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and other competitors.

BlackBerry was on the verge of selling itself after the recent downturn and many other tech companies considered buying all, or parts, of the smartphone maker. According to Reuters, prospective buyers included Apple, Lenovo, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), and Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO).

BlackBerry surprised many industry watchers when it decided not to sell itself in November. Instead, the company named John S. Chen as the new interim chief executive and secured $1 billion in funding from a small group of investors. However, many investors are concerned that the company has already lost its appeal to many users due to the uncertainty surrounding the viability of its platform.

Although Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited is the primary institutional investor, other investors that also bought into BlackBerry’s initial debt offering include Brookfield Asset Management, Canso Investment Counsel, Mackenzie Financial, Manulife Financial, Markel Corp, and Qatar Holding, reports Reuters. BlackBerry closed up $0.17, or 2.88 percent, at $6.08 on Friday.


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