BlackBerry founder steps back from takeover

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Maybe he needed some extra Christmas shopping money.

A regulatory filing on Dec. 24 indicated that BlackBerry founder Mike Lazaridis sold more than $26 million of stock in his former company, reducing his holdings to less than five percent of its outstanding shares.

Along with co-founder Doug Fregin, Lazaridis, who led the company from 1984 to 2012, had been touted as a possible savior for the ailing smartphone manufacturer. As holders of a combined eight percent of BlackBerry stock, Lazaridis and Fregin had retained Goldman Sachs and Centerview Partners to evaluate their options for a possible takeover. According to the regulatory filing, that agreement has been terminated.

In November, BlackBerry appointed a new CEO, former Sybase head John Chen, and raised $1 billion in convertible debt. The company's stock, which lost about 35 percent of its value in 2013, received a boost when Chen announced plans to outsource manufacturing to Foxconn and focus on software technology.

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