BlackBerry CEO would consider handset unit sale, eyes investments

NEW YORK Wed Apr 9, 2014 7:45pm EDT

Blackberry CEO John Chen poses for a portrait in Toronto March 26, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

Blackberry CEO John Chen poses for a portrait in Toronto March 26, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Mark Blinch

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - BlackBerry Ltd would consider exiting its handset business if it remains unprofitable, its chief executive said on Wednesday, as the company looks to expand its corporate reach with investments, acquisitions and partnerships.

"If I cannot make money on handsets, I will not be in the handset business," John Chen said in an interview, adding that the time frame for such a decision was short. He would not be more specific.

Chen, who took the helm of the struggling smartphone company in November, said BlackBerry was also looking to invest in or team up with other companies in regulated industries such as healthcare, and financial and legal services, all of which require highly secure communications.

The chief executive said small acquisitions to strengthen BlackBerry's network security offerings were also possible.

(Reporting by Alastair Sharp, Nicola Leske, Nadia Damouni; Editing by Frank McGurty and Steve Orlofsky)

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