Ex-BlackBerry CEO sells all 26 million shares

News 14 Feb, 2013

Jim Balsillie cashes out of phone maker.

Former BlackBerry co-CEO Jim Balsillie has cashed-out his stake in the smartphone maker, prompting suggestions he doesn't have much hope about the firm’s future.

As of December 2011, Balsillie was one of the largest shareholders, with a total of 26.8 million shares in his name. This was the equivilent of him owning a 5 per cent stake in the firm.

However, an SEC filing has shown that he has now cashed out by selling his shares, suggesting he no longer has confidence in the direction of the firm.

Balsillie was the co-CEO along with founder Mike Lazaridis until January of 2012 when they both stepped down.

As of May 2012, Mike Lazaridis still owns 5.7 per cent of BlackBerry.

After one year without launching any flagship devices, BlackBerry debuted its BB10 operating system at the end of January. The future of the firm depends on the success of the operating system – and initial reviews and customers reaction show that it could give the company a lifeline.

The BlackBerry Z10 was given 4 out of 5 stars in the IT Pro review – with the device being praised for its fluid OS and the BlackBerry Hub deemed the best messaging aggregator on any mobile platform.

Sales have also been strong, with BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins claiming that the reception was better than expected.

Carphone Warehouse was said to have had widespread sell-outs while O2, Vodafone, Orange and EE also saw demand. Analysts at investment bank Jefferies predicted that several hundred thousand units were sold over the opening weekend.

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