Lazaridis sells off 3.5 million BlackBerry shares to net $26 million

According to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing made Tuesday, former BlackBerry CEO Mike Lazaridis has sold off 3.5M shares of the company he co-founded, netting a cool $26 million USD.

The sale came in two transactions over the past week through a numbered company that was a part of a joint effort by Lazaridis and co-founder Doug Fregin to reclaim control of BlackBerry back in September. The selloff effectively ends the initiative.

It has been an eventful few months for Lazaridis following his ouster as CEO in January of last year. Unlike his former co-CEO, Lazaridis maintained his shares in the company, and spoke positively of his replacement’s efforts to launch BB10 and expand BBM cross-platform. However, speculation grew of a possible return to power following BlackBerry’s brutal Q2 performance, where the company announced a $1B loss and the elimination of 4,500 jobs. Fairfax Financial’s $4.7B bid for the company launched a fleet of potential suitors, and Lazaridis was rumoured to be working with Qualcomm and Cerberus Capital on a counter bid before eventually losing out to a revised bid from Fairfax.

Lazaridis’ opinion of new CEO and Chairman John Chen, and his strategy to make BlackBerry profitable by 2016, is unknown, but it’s hard to see the selloff as a vote of confidence. Regardless, it is a sure sign that BlackBerry’s founder will not be returning to lead the company back to its glory days.

[source]Globe and Mail[/source]