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BlackBerry co-founders mull takeover bid

BlackBerry Ltd. co-founders Mike Lazaridis and Douglas Fregin said they may make a takeover offer for the struggling smartphone maker.

The former BlackBerry executives have hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Centerview Partners LLC to help them study their options, according to a regulatory filing Thursday. They signed an agreement to work together on any potential offer.

A bid for Waterloo, Ontario-based BlackBerry would compete with a $4.7-billion offer from Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd., the company's biggest shareholder, which is seeking partners to help finance a buyout. BlackBerry put itself up for sale after it failed to gain back market share with new products following years of losing ground to Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co.

Lazaridis and Fregin are considering a joint bid "with the goal of stabilizing and ultimately reinventing the company based on a plan developed by them," they said in the filing. BlackBerry shares rose 9 cents to close at $8.20 Thursday.

The co-founders together control 8 percent of BlackBerry's shares, the filing said. Toronto-based Fairfax has a 9.9 percent stake.

A special committee of BlackBerry's board continues to review its options, a spokeswoman for BlackBerry said.

Lazaridis, the former co-chief executive officer, and Fregin, its ex-vice president of operations, have been friends since the fifth grade and co-founded BlackBerry while they were engineering students. They now own Quantum Valley Investments, which focuses on developing quantum computing technology.

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