Fairfax sells 5.2 million BlackBerry shares

Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. has trimmed its holdings in BlackBerry Ltd. by 5.2 million shares, according to a regulatory filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Regulatory filing shows Prem Watsa's company now BlackBerry's second-largest owner

Fairfax Financial, led by value investor Prem Watsa, has sold off about 10 per cent of its holdings in Canadian smartphone maker BlackBerry.

Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. has trimmed its holdings in BlackBerry Ltd. by 5.2 million shares, according to a regulatory filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

In a quarterly filing with the U.S. regulator in February, the insurance and investment firm said it holds nearly 46.7 million shares or a roughly 8.9 per cent stake in the smartphone maker, down from nearly 51.9 million shares it held previously.

According to data compiled by Thomson Reuters, Fairfax is the second-largest shareholder in BlackBerry behind Primecap Management, which has a 10.4 per cent stake or nearly 54.9 million shares.

Fairfax led takeover attempt

Fairfax led an investment group that injected $1 billion into BlackBerry last fall in a convertible debt financing deal, including US$250 million from Fairfax.

The company later doubled its investment with the purchase of an additional US$250 million earlier this year in BlackBerry convertible debt, which pays six per cent interest annually but can be converted into BlackBerry shares if they rise above US$10.

BlackBerry has been making significant changes to its operations under the leadership of executive chairman and chief executive John Chen.

In its most recent financial results, the company posted a first-quarter loss of US$423 million or 80 cents per share which, on an adjusted basis, was a smaller loss than analysts expected.

Chen aims to make Blackberry break even by the end of next February.

BlackBerry shares were down four cents at C$7.96 Thursday afternoon on the Toronto Stock Exchange.