Yesterday, BlackBerry revealed its plans to retreat from the consumer market amid plan to lay off 4,500 workers and a looming $950 million quarterly loss. The company is actively looking for a buyer, and now several reports have pegged a somewhat surprising option: BlackBerry co-founder and former co-chief executive officer Mike Lazaridis. Both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal cited sources saying that Lazaridis has approached private equity firms about making a bid for the company; The New York Times specifically states that he's reached out to the Blackstone Group and the Carlyle Group about putting together an offer. That said, the talks were labeled as "preliminary" and may not lead to an actual bids.
Lazaridis stepped down in January of 2012 along with fellow co-CEO Jim Balsillie, and eventually left the company altogether this past March — but he remains one of the company's largest individual shareholders, a position that could help him if he decides to move forward with a potential bid to take BlackBerry private. That said, Lazaridis also presided over a dramatic downturn at the company and is arguably one of the key figures responsible for BlackBerry's failures over the last several years. We'll have to wait and see if that history makes him a tough sell to the rest of BlackBerry's board and shareholders if he decides to go forward with this potential bid.