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BlackBerry Explores Strategic Alternatives, Including Company Sale

BlackBerry Outage - P 2011
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The struggling smartphone maker could also go private as it continues to face stiff competition from Apple and Android-based devices.

TORONTO -- Shares in BlackBerry were halted Monday morning in U.S. pre-market trading as the Canadian smartphone maker said it has formed a special committee to explore strategic options, including a possible sale of the company.

Recent press reports also point to BlackBerry choosing to go private as it continues to struggle against smartphone rivals.

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"As the special committee focuses on exploring alternatives, we will be continuing with our strategy of reducing cost, driving efficiency and accelerating the deployment of BES 10, as well as driving adoption of BlackBerry 10 smartphones, launching the multiplatform BBM social messaging service and pursuing mobile computing opportunities by leveraging the secure and reliable BlackBerry Global Data Network," Blackberry CEO Thorstein Heins said in a statement.

Heins last year took the top job at Blackberry as it failed to make enough inroads against competitors like Apple, Samsung and Google's Android-based devices.

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The launch of the special committee comes as BlackBerry board member Prem Watsa, head of Canadian insurer Fairfax Financial and a major BlackBerry shareholder, said he was stepping down.

"I continue to be a strong supporter of the company, the board and management as they move forward during this process, and Fairfax Financial has no current intention of selling its shares," Watsa said in a statement Monday.